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Top of the World: Snif, Snif: those Scenes that Make me Cry :'(

I’m not someone who cries easily, but I would say that the thing that makes me the most emotional in life are movies.

Here, I present you pretty much all the movie scenes that makes me cry or at least make me have some tears in my eyes. Of course, I may have forgotten some because I’ve seen a lot of movies and sometimes I don’t remember everything, but the essential should be here.

These are not necessarily sad scenes. Most of them are, but some scenes make me emotional just because of the opposite: it’s too joyful or too beautiful.

These are not in a particular order, because it’s not really something you can rate (“when I watched this scene, I cried one tear, but when I watched this one, I cried 3 tears!” a bit silly no?)

I tried to provide a movie clip for most of the scenes, but I couldn’t always find one.

Warning: there are many spoilers here, a lot of movie ending or character’s death. But many of these scenes are from films a lot of people have seen (I think). So well, just be carefulūüėČ

Well, here we go:

  • When Virginia (Olivia de Havilland) goes home in The Snake Pit-
  • When Hester (Betsy Blair) talks in The Snake Pit

Olivia de Havilland and Betsy Blair as inmates at a mental hospital in The Snake Pit, 1948

  • The end of Withering Heights, the 1939’s version (William Wyler thought this scene was a bit silly, but well).

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  • When Joe (William Holden) plays violin in Golden Boy‚̧

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  • Carol’s (Teresa Wright) death in Mrs. Miniver

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  • The final scene of Mrs. Miniver

– ¬†“Here’s looking at you kid” scene from Casablanca

  • When they sing La Marseillaise in Casablanca

Р When Helen (Patty Duke) finally understands what a word is in The Miracle Worker

  • – ¬†The Ending of The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
  • When the little David (David Ladd) runs into¬†Linnett Moore (Olivia de Havilland)’s harm and talks at the end of The Proud Rebel ¬†This is the whole movie, just look for the last 2 minutes (if you have seen the film of course!). or well, you can watch the entire movie, because it’s a good one.
  • When Tod is abandonned in the forrest in The Fox and the Hound
  • Bambi’s mother’s death in Bambi¬†
  • Final scene of All Quiet on the Western Front (both sad and beautiful)
  • When the little John (Jackie Coogan) is taken by the authorities in The Kid
  • The end of Modern Times (Chaplin is good at making people cry lol)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life‘s ending (certainly not because it’s sad, just because it’s perfect)
  • When Luke (Paul Newman) sings and plays the banjo after his mother’s death in Cool Hand Luke
  • Spartacus‘s final scene
  • John Merrick (John Hurt)’s last sleep in The Elephant Man
  • When Clarissa (Jean Arthur) speaks to the phone with Smith’s mother in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (“She called me Clarissa! Alright Ma!” – gets me all the time) Look for 1:40:20 to to 1:40:54
  • The ending of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (look at the last 2-3 minutes)
  • When Homer (Harold Lloyd) arrives at home at the beginning of The Best Years of our Lives
  • Thelma & Louise‘s final scene
  • Love in the Afternoon‘s final scene (Audrey is too adorable)
  • Cinema Paradiso‘s final scene
  • When Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) plays the trumpet after Maggio’s (Frank Sinatra) death in From Here to Eternity
  • The ending of A Place in the Sun (this film is TOO sad)
  • “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again” scene from Gone With the Wind (so powerful)
  • John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan)’s execution in The Green Mile
  • Ashley (Leslie Howard)’s return in Gone with the Wind
  • Melanie (Olivia de Havilland)’s death in Gone with the Wind

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  • When Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) says “After all tomorrow is another day” in Gone with the Wind. Ok, there’s nothing very special about saying that, but it’s just the way she says it that gets me!
  • When Andy (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman) find each others at the end of The Shawshank Redemption
  • Dead Poets Society‘s final scene
  • Matt (Spencer Tracy)’s speech in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • Breakfast at Tiffany‘s ending
  • Life is Beautiful‘s ending
  • THIS scene from Life is Beautiful:
  • When Maria (Julie Andrews) sings the theme song at the beginning of The Sound of Music
  • Maria (Julie Andrews)’s return in The Sound of Music
  • Tony (Richard Beymer)’s death in West Side Story
  • The little girl in red’s scene in Schindler’s List
  • “I could have done more” scene from Schindler’s List (ok, pretty much the whole movie)
  • Bubba (Mykelti Williamson)’s death in Forrest Gump
  • Jenny (Robin Wright)’s death in Forrest Gump¬†(especially when he gives her the letter written by their son)
  • Dobby’s death in Harry Potter 7
  • Rose’s dream at the end of Titanic (ok, I know this is clich√©, but this scene makes me cry like a baby. Probably because it makes you realize everything that could have happen instead in the boat wouldn’t have sank)
  • Let in Be scene from Across the Universe
  • Lucy ( Evan Rachel Wood) and Jude (Jim Strugess) find each others again at the end of Across the Universe
  • When Jo (Doris Day) learns her son has been kidnapped in The Man Who Knew Too Much
  • The hospital scene in The Razor’s Edge

BONUS: When everybody cries at the end of Cry Baby! (ok, it doesn’t really make me cry, but I couldn’t not put it here ahah!- and the whole scene is pretty cool)

Ok, maybe there are some that I completely forgot, but I will update this if it’s the case!

If I had to choose the three scenes that make me the most emotional, I think I would go with the Dream Scene from Titanic, The “she knows” scene from The Miracle Worker and the final scene of Dead Poets Society

Ok, see you people!

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Margaret Lockwood Centennial: Tribute to a most Extraordinary British Star

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Margaret Lockwood. What could I first say about this actress? I love her so much, I honestly don’t know where to start. I’ve waited for this moment for¬†so long. Oh sure, I could have written about my love and admiration for her before, but isn’t there a more perfect occasion than her centennial? Sadly, Margaret is no longer with us anymore, but that’s not a reason not to honour her.

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I first have to precise that I’m writing this article for the Margaret Lockwood Centennial blogathon hosted by my friend Terence from A Shroud of Thoughts. I was so impatient for this blogathon to start and, so far, I’m not disappointed. It’s so wonderful to read all those pieces about Margaret’s films. And two on Give Us the Moon! That’s dream for me! I certainly hope this blogathon will allow Margaret to become more famous around this place of movie bloggers. For one thing, I assume it will allow people to discover her and her films by reading all those entertaining entries:

The Margaret Lockwood Centennial Blogathon

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I want this hat and this bathing suit

***

I once promised myself that I should see ALL Margaret Lockwood’s films before the venue of this event. Unfortunately, I’ve failed to keep my promise. The main reason is that not all her films are available, and it’s also a matter of time. But, for the moment,¬†I’ve seen 18 of them. Not so bad for a start, no? I’m always in the mood to watch a Margaret Lockwood’s film.

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Anyway, let’s get back to Margaret herself. Like most people, I’ve first discovered her by watching Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. Along with The Wicked Lady, this one remains her most iconic film. I really knew nothing about her at the time, but enjoyed her onscreen presence. Of course, I was curious to see more of her work. So, I then watched Night Train to Munich and The Stars Look Down,¬†both directed by Carol Reed. Why those two? I chose Night Train as it is often compared to The Lady Vanishes. And I chose The Stars Look Down as it also stars Michael Redgrave and I loved his pairing with Margaret in the Hitchcock’s film. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fully appreciate those films and for a silly reason. When I watched them, it was on YouTube (with no subtitles) and, at the time, my English wasn’t as good as it is today, so I couldn’t understand everything. Of course, I was able to see Margaret was a gifted actress, but it’s a big disappointment when you don’t understand what’s going on when you watch a film. Since then, I’ve seen Night Train to Munich again, and now it’s one of my favourite films of hers.

So, after having explored those three films, I’ve spent a long time not thinking too much about her films. But, one night, I was curious again and felt like watching more. So, I did my little research a dug two of her films on youTube that appealed me: The Man in Grey and Madness of the Heart. And you know what? I loved them and understood everything. I think it’s from this moment that I decided that I should see all Margaret Lockwood’s films and that she was a favourite of mine.

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But all I was just saying is a bit boring, no? You are here to know why my admiration for Margaret is so big. As I’ve said before, I really don’t know where to start. Well, I could say that one of the things that first impress¬†me about Margaret is how she was capable of playing many different kinds of roles. She’s simply one of the most versatile actresses I know. She could do everything! Margaret could be a helpful and caring young woman in Bank Holiday or The Lady Vanishes or the meanest of the wicked ones in The Wicked Lady or The Man in Grey. And who said she couldn’t play comedy?! Better safe your breath with me because I will win this case if you disagree with me. Look at Give Us the Moon. She makes me laugh so much in this film.

Talking about laugh, I love Margaret’s laugh. If Peter O’Toole has my favourite voice, Margaret has my favourite laugh (yes, British actors have a special place in my heart). Whatever if it is faked or not, it’s a laugh that simply makes me smile. It’s like a little crystalline melody. And that matches her gorgeous smile and her lovely look perfectly.

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This picture just makes me want to say “Youpi”!

Because yes, we can’t deny the fact that Margaret was one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the screen. With her big eyes, her dark hair and her perfect smile, she certainly could be envied. I (and I’m not the only one) always thought she looked so much like Joan Bennett (the brunette Joan Bennett). And the nice thing about this is that, when Margaret was in Hollywood, she and the American actress became good friends!

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Margaret and Joan Bennett saluting the Queen mother. I THINK Joan is the one who stands up.

Fortunately, Margaret wasn’t only beautiful, but also talented. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been a favourite of mine.

If you ask me my advice on what would be her best performance, I couldn’t possibly say. She was fantastic in everything and it’s quite hard to compare her performance in The Wicked Lady¬†with her performance in A Girl Must Live as they are so different. I don’t say that all Margaret Lockwood’s films themselves are necessarily great, but just like Katharine Hepburn, Margaret made at least one interesting thing to look at in those less good movies: their leading actress. But, I must say that she did some of her best works under the direction of Carol Reed (Bank Holiday, The Stars Look Down, A Girl Must Live, Night Train to Munich, Girl in the News).

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Margaret and her Daily Mail National Film Award

Apart from her smile, Margaret often does little on-screen things that just makes her adorable. I can think of this moment when she practices tap dancing in A Girl Must Live or when she does exercises to stay awake in The Lady Vanishes.

If we explore her more wicked characters, Margaret represented the independent woman who fought for her ideals. Barbara Skelton can’t be a model for her crimes, but she can be one for her seek of independence.

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What also always impress me with Margaret is how she always had such a good on-screen chemistry with the other actors. Her duo in The Lady Vanishes with Michael Redgrave is rather perfect no? It personally is one of my favourite on-screen duos. And Margaret Lockwood always did a marvellous evil pair with James Mason. She wasn’t necessarily the best of friends with Michael Redgrave, but it’s honestly hard to believe.

***

Now that I’ve spoken about Margaret the actress, this now leads me to Margaret the woman. I must admit, before reading Lyndsy Spence’s marvellous book Margaret Lockwood: Queen of the Silver Screen,¬†I was a bit scared to know more about her private life. Scared to be disappointed by her. Because we know that some marvellous actors and actresses¬†weren’t necessarily recommendable persons. But, with Margaret, it simply was the opposite. Not only she charmed me as a person, but I could somehow identify myself with her, particularly when I was reading about her childhood. Just like me, Margaret was a shy kid, but she managed to express herself through the world of theatre. I never really did professional theatre like her. But when I was in High School, theatre was one of the classes I excelled the most at. I’ve never been very good at talking person to person, but I’ve always felt comfortable doing oral presentations and talking in front of an audience or a camera.

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On stage with John Mills

Margaret also was an actress because she wanted to be an actress. She didn’t do it for the money, but because she loved it. Of course, the acting career isn’t always a simple one, but Margaret was a strong woman. She also was a loving mother. That makes me think, her only daughter, Julia Lockwood also became an actress. She stars in one of my favourite British comedies: Please, Turn Over. Just like her mother, she has a lovely voice, stunning eyes and she’s talented.

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Mother and daughter

I was also surprised to read how Margaret Lockwood was popular and appreciated in the United Kingdom. She certainly was the queen of the Silver Screen in the 40s. I know many people who unfortunately don’t know her, but I hope this article will convince them to watch her films (other than The Lady Vanishes) and discover her.

Anyway, Lyndsy Spence’s book certainly is a wonderful biography and I highly recommend you to read it.

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***

Before writing this tribute, I had the chance to honour Margaret by creating a Facebook group dedicated to her and by editing a little video tribute that I hope you’ll enjoy:

Before leaving you, I should give you a little top 10 of my favourite Margaret Lockwood’s films:

1- The Lady Vanishes (the first one I saw and I think it will always remain my favourite)

2- Give Us the Moon

3- A Girl Must Live

4- Night Train to Munich

5- Highly Dangerous

6- The Wicked Lady

7- The Man in Grey

8- Bank Holiday

9- Madness of the Heart

10- Bedelia

I know, Cast a Dark Shadow, that is often considered among her best films, isn’t on the list, but it’s simply because I didn’t get the chance to see it yet. But I’m dying to see it. One day I will manage to find a way to do so!

***

Well, thanks again to Terence for hosting such a worthy blogathon, and to you, Margaret, I wish you the loveliest heavenly 100th birthday‚̧

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A Fith and Sixth Liebster Award for The Wonderful World of Cinema

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I received (quite a long time ago) a fifth and a sixth Liebster Award! The first one is a courtesy of Louis from The Cinematic Frontier and the second one was given to me by MIB’s Instant Headache. Of course, this is an honour and I want to thank both bloggers! Please forgive me for “accepting” the awards so late!

As always, I have to answer to the bloggers who nominated me’s eleven questions, then say 11 things about me, nominate 11 other blogs and ask them 11 questions. I might not tell you 11 (or 22!) things about me since I’ve already said a lot in my previous nominations and might not nominate 11 (or 22) blogs either.

Well, here we go

Starting with Louis’s 11 questions!

1- What is your favorite new release of 2016 so far?

Hum, I don’t watch many “recent” movie, so I think I’ve actually seen only one: Finding Dory. But I liked it!

2- Do you prefer 3D or 2D?

3D can be very impressive, but I hate wearing 3D glasses. So I’ll go with 2D.

3- What is your favorite film from the year you were born?

1995 is generally far from being my favourite year in films, but some good ones were released. I’ll go with David Fincher’s Se7en and Toy Story. (I’ve already answered that question lol)

4- Star Treck or Star Wars?

Euhm… none! Not really my kind of films. But if I REALLY had to choose I’ll go with Star Wars I guess.

5- Which Comic-Con have you most recently attended (or, if you’ve never been to one, which one do you plan or wish to attend)?

Hum, I’ve never attended a Comic-Con and don’t think I ever will. The only thing that interested me at Montreal’s Comic-Con is when Malcom McDowell came a few years ago (he’s the guy in Clockwork Orange you know)!

6- Blu-ray or streaming?

DVDs!ūüėõ

7- Name your favourite 80’s song in a film.

Very interesting question! I’ll go with¬†Into the Groove¬†from Desperately Seeking Susan (performed by Madonna). Pretty hard question since I love music from the 80s in general.

8- What is your favourite film based on a book?

If it’s from a book I have read, that would be Strangers on a Train. However, I think the best adaptation is Rebecca. Both Hitchcock’s films.

9- What is your favorite (or least favorite) Nicholas Cage haircut?

Eum…

10- Which film recently made you reflect on it long after the credits were over?

To Sir, With Love

 11- Who is your favorite composer?

Movie composer? Miklos Rosza or Bernard Hermann

***

MIB’s Instant Headache’s 11 questions

1- If you could direct a film and cast any actor or actress, living or dead, who would it be?

I’ll do a Doris’ Day musical, because those are so much fun. And her co-star would be Grace Kelly because we need more Grace Kelly’s films (and she sings well for a non-singer, and the co-star don’t necessarily have to be a man)!

2- Which superhero did you want to be as a kid?

I wanted to be Hermione Granger from Harry Potter (ok, not really a “super hero”, but she’s amazing, no?)

3- Do you believe in God?

I believe in myself.

4- Should man-buns/topknots be banned (except for Samurai of course)?

Hum no… Why should it be? I myself often wear topknots! :O This is a very practical summer hairstyle for those who have very long hair like me.

5- Have you ever joined or set foot in a gym?

Hum, I don’t go in a gym to train, but when I was in elementary school, high school and CEGEP our physical education courses where in a gym. Of course, not a “gym gym” with all the machines and everything. Does it count?ūüėõ

6- What was your favourite childhood toy?

The type of question that makes me nostalgic! It’s not a “toy toy” but what I loved to do when I was young was to disguise¬†myself.

7- Do you currently have or have you ever had a pet?

I don’t have one right now, but I had some fishes!

8- And if so, what is/was it?

One red fish named Culbute (actually that was my sister’s fish). One red beta named… eumh it had several names: Avale-Tout, Cerise (or Cherry) and Gros Caca (Big Shit) when it was annoying. Then, one red fish named Henry VIII who only lived a week because he refused to eat. And finally, one Beta (my sister’s) named Gertie, who lived almost 2 years and it was the best fish ever. I miss her!

9- Can you recall the first film you ever saw at the cinema?

I think it was Stuart Little or Toy Story 2!

10- What was the best music concert you ever attended?

Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour of course! Even if I was very very far and couldn’t see her very well.

Is there a particular word you have trouble pronouncing?

Hum, Slovak words with no vowels! (main reason why I DON’T speak slovak lol).

11 things about me.

I can tell you some stuff about my trip in Europe!

  1. My favourite city among the four was Vienna (the other ones I visited were Budapest, Bratislava and Prague)
  2. When we were in Vienna, we met Paul Henreid’s grandson! He was very nice and showed us some very interesting things in the city.
  3. When I was in Prague, I met one of my friend bloggers, Michaela from Love Letters to Old Hollywood because she was there for her studies! And I discovered she was the same age as me, which is pretty nice.
  4. When I came back from my trip, a very special letter was waiting for me: Earl Holliman’s reply to my fan mail. Two beautiful autographed pictures! And I didn’t even ask for them! How sweet of him.ūüôā

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And more

5. My favourite subjects to write about on this blog are Alfred Hitchcock, Buster Keaton, Katharine Hepburn, William Holden, Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman

6. ¬†My name is mentioned in the acknowledgements of my friend Lyndsy Spence new book: Margaret Lockwood: Queen of the Silver Screen. That’s pretty much an honour since I love Margaret Lockwood.

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Yes, that’s me!

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7. I gave myself the challenge to learn a new song each week. So far I haven’t really work on it very well, but I’ve already learn The Lady is a Tramp (Ella Fitzgerald’s version)!

Well, as I’ve already said 44 things about me in the previous Liebster Awards acceptances, I don’t have any inspiration anymore.

The blogs I nominate:

Christina Wehner

Cinematic Scribblings

Silver Scenes

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest

Congratulation to you!

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My 11 questions to those blogs

  1. What is your favourite blogathon?
  2. What subject do you like the most to write about on your blog
  3. What is your current movie character crush (not movie actor, movie character)
  4. Do you wear perfume? If yes, which one?
  5. Can you sing? (I mean, can you sing well lol)?
  6. Do you play a musical instrument?
  7. What is your favourite cinematographic moment. It can be something that last just 3 seconds in a film.
  8. Have you ever written fan mail. Did you receive any answers?
  9. When you started your blog, do you remember what was the first blog you followed and what was the first blog to follow you?
  10. What is the last book you read?
  11. What would be your dream house?

Well, that’s all! I’m impatient to read your answers! Don’t forget to also say 11 things about you and nominate 11 other blogs (and ask them 11 questions as well)!

The Wonderful World of Cinema is, once again, honoured

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Announcing the 2nd Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon

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Yes,¬†The 2nd Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon¬†will be back this year (why not? She’s a favourite after all!) So, if didn’t have the chance to participate last year, make sure not to miss this second edition of the blogathon!

For the occasion, we’ll be honouring Grace Kelly on what would have been her 87th birthday. The event will start on November 10 and will take and end on November 12, 2016.

This blogathon will also be the occasion for us to do something special for the month of November, which is a rather boring month we must admit.

Grace Kelly is the first classical actress I discovered and since then she’s always been a very favourite of mine, that’s why I decided to honour her with a blogathon last year and will do so again this year. But I’m sure I’m not the only fan here. That’s why I invite you to share your love¬†for¬†Grace Kelly with us and participate to¬†The 2nd Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon!

But of course, there are some simple rules to follow if you want to do so:

1- Choose a subject. It can be anything related to Grace Kelly: her films, her life, her friendships, her royal wedding, etc. You are, of course, allowed to write about her life as a princess. It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the movies she starred in.

2- Concerning her¬†filmography, I will allow duplicates as she starred only in 11 movies. However, I don’t want everyone to pick the same movie. If you see two persons have already chosen to talk about¬†Rear Window,¬†for instance, you might like to think about another subject. However, your writing must be new material.

3- To give chances to everybody, I won’t allow more than 2 entries for each participants.

4- You can submit your subject in the comments section or via email at virginie.pronovost@gmail.com or via Twitter at @Ginnie_SP

5- Once I gave you my approval for your subject, grab one of those cool banners to help me promoting the event. The more the merrier!

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affiche 15- The event takes place on November 10, 2016 and takes an end on November 12, 2016. On the blogathon’s first day, I will upload a new post where you’ll be able to submit your entry.

6- If you’re not able to participate to the blogathon, you can always help me spreading the word about it.ūüôā It would be much helpful!

Here are the participant blogs and their subject!

A Shroud of ThoughtsTo Catch a Thief (1955)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood14 Hours (1951) and The Swan (1956)

Love Letters to Old HollywoodHigh Society (1956)

Outspoken and Freckled Rear Window (1954)

The Wonderful World of Cinema High Noon (1952)

Wolfing Classics Movies DigestDial M for Murder (1954)

Back to Golden DaysGrace and Rainier’s Relationship

The Flapper DameGrace as a Fashion Icon

Cr√≠tica Retr√īThe Country Girl (1954)

Thoughts All Sorts High Noon (1952)

Cinema CitiesDial M for Murder (1954)

Phyllis Loves Classic MoviesThe Swan (1956)

Musing of a Classic Film AddictHigh Society (1956)

Sleepwalking in HollywoodMogambo (1953) and Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock’s relationship¬†

Old Hollywood Films Green Fire (1954)

MovierobTo Catch a Thief (1955) and The Country Girl (1954)


So, dear participants and future participants, we’ll meet again on a Royal day in November! See youūüôā

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Back to School Blogathon: The Browning Version

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Yes, I’ll soon be back to school after about four months and a half of vacations (well, not complete vacations as I was also working). Anyway, back to the routine, the lectures, the work, etc. Luckily, university starts late and ends early so I’m not starting until September 6. And fortunately, as I’m studying cinema, I’ll also be watching many movies in class just like I like to do it at home.
To celebrate the return of classes, Robin from Pop Culture Reverie has decided to host the Back-to-School Blogathon. Of course, for someone who still is studying, this is quite an appealing event as it allows me to already be in the “mood” for it. As for those who have already finished school (a long or short time ago), I guess it will bring you back some memories, good ones I hope. You see, school movies are ones that can reach many people, but unfortunately, it’s not everybody in the world who has this chance to have a fair access to studies.
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School is a very general word that can include many levels of studies. After all, we all start going to school when we are about 5 and we can sort of finish quite late if we decide to do a PHD. Anyway, school is an important part of life and has an immense influence on our future. For this blogathon, I’ve decided to travel to a public boarding school in England and discuss The Browning Version, an Anthony Asquith movie released in 1951. The film stars Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick, Ronald Howard and Wilfrid Hyde-White.¬†It was based on a play by Terence Rattigan and the movie script was also written by him.
The Browning Version can be called a masterpiece and was released on Criterion. However, it seems that it doesn’t have the popularity and the recognition it totally deserves. When you think of “school movies” it’s the first one that comes to peoples’ mind.
The Browning Version¬†focuses on the last days of Andrew Crocker-Harris (Michael Redgrave), a classic studies¬†teacher,¬†in an English public school for men (boys). Due to his health problems, he is to be transferred to another school where the responsibilities are less exhausting. He is about to be replaced by the young Mr. Gilbert (Ronald Howard). But those last days are difficult as “the Crock”, as he is called, begins to realised that, during all his 18 years of teaching at this school, he wasn’t only not liked, but positively disliked by his students. His wedding is also a failure and his economic position is not announced to be good after his transfer in the new school. To his students, Mr. Crocker-Harris is a boring teacher with no emotions and n0 recognition. However, one of them, Taplow, sizes the sensibility that is hidden in this man and believes that he is, after all, not such a bad person, but only a lonely one.
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We need more people like this little boy in our world. The Browning Version indeed makes us understand that we can’t really judge a person before really know her. After all, ¬†what do we really know about our teachers? I mean, in their life out of school? Taplow is the only student of Mr. Crocker-Harris’s class to have witnessed more of his life at home as he sometimes goes¬†to work¬†at his place. He is a sensible little boy who sees behind the first image projected by someone. Indeed, it shows us that someone might not always express what he really feel. After all, we are all different.
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But in a way, it’s normal not to like all our teachers. And that can be so for many different reasons: a boring teacher, a teacher with whom you learn nothing, a teacher who has humiliated you, a teacher who is incomprehensible, etc. That can be the most wonderful profession as you get to know different young souls and transmit your knowledge to them. But it can also be a hard task if you add the different challenges¬†and if you have a lack of motivation. Ok, I’m talking as if I were a teacher, but I’m not. I’m only writing this according to my good judgement.
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Mr. Crooked-Harris as the motivation. It’s clear for us that he is passionate by what he’s teaching. The only problem is that he doesn’t success to transmit this love of classic studies¬†to his student in the right way. Has many of them suggest, he seems to have no emotion, but we’ll discover, thanks to Taplow, that he a sensibility is hidden in him.
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Michael Redgrave gives a brilliant performance in a role that was meant to be difficult. In an interview, available on the Criterion DVD of this film, the actor indeed explains that he likes to choose roles that don’t have an easy approach. I think that the challenge here was to play a man who first seems neutral, but who is in reality, highly tormented. It’s a role that makes us forget the sympathetic Gilbert from The Lady Vanishes, or the refined¬†Ernest from The Importance of Being Earnest, but in the good way. It simply proves us that Michael Redgrave was capable of playing many different kinds of roles. At the 1951 Cannes Film Festival, the British actor won the Best Actor Award for his performance as Andrew Crocker-Harris.
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Margaret Lockwood, who had previously starred in The Lady Vanishes and The Stars Look Down alongside Redgrave, was first considered for the role of Millie, Mr. Crocker-Harris’s wife, but the role went to Jean Kent. I’m sure Margaret would have been great too, but Mrs. Kent seems to have been meant for this role. With her ravaging beauty, she was perfectly able to play the seducing and passionate bad girls and she proves it right. The opposition between her character and Michael Redgrave’s one is fascinating, just like the way she will behave in society versus how she’ll behave when she is alone with her husband. Those situations seem to create two completely different women and Jean Kent was able to adapt herself to both of them like a chameleon.
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The role of Frank Hunter, Andrew’s fellow schoolmaster, was given to Nigel Patrick, an actor I didn’t really know, but who turns out to be quite intriguing. Brian Smith plays the little Taplow and his devotion as a young actor makes us having high hopes for him. The Headmaster¬†was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White, who is great and appreciable without stealing the show from Redgrave. Finally, Ronald Howard (who was Leslie Howard’s son – I didn’t know that) plays the role of Crooked-Harris successor. His acting game is very simple, but convincing and he gives to his character a beautiful humility.
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At the 1951’s film Cannes Film Festival, The Browning Version also won the Best Screenplay Award and was also nominated for the Golden Palm. The script was indeed brilliant has it creates a justifiable evolution of the story and its characters. It helps us to understand the motivations and certain actions. The Crock’s vulnerability touches us as it touches Taplow. As a matter of fact, Taplow is like the eyes of the spectator and, the more we are watching the film, the more we begin to understand Crocker-Harris just like Taplow does. The film also contains some well-thought lines who makes us having a reflection on the¬†situation, one of them being:
 Andrew Crocker-Harris: I may have been a brilliant scholar, but I was woefully ignorant of the facts of life.
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And of course, there is the final speech, a moment of emotion that I won’t reveal to you in case you haven’t seen the film yet.
For those who wonder, the movie title refers to English poet, Robert Browning’s translation of the Greek tragedy¬†¬†Agamemnon,¬†which plays an important role in the film.
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Robert Browning
Aside from his Cannes Festival wins and nominations, The Browning Version also won the Bronze Berlin Bear (drama) and the Small Bronze Plate at the Berlin International Film Festival.
It’s no surprise that the film won those international Awards, not only because it’s a clever one, but also because it’s one that can reach everybody across the world. It is English, yes, and we feel the British world and culture, but it’s a story that could happen everywhere at any time.
In 1994, a remake of the film was made with Albert Finney in the leading role. The movie was also nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, which proves that it is, after all, probably not a bad remake. But I still have to see it.
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I would like to thank gladly Robin from Pop Culture Reverie for hosting this wonderful blogathon, which was a good opportunity for me to go back in the “school” mood after such long summer vacations.
To read the other lovely entries, please click here.
Well, the bell just rang. I have to go now!