31 Days of Oscars Blogathon 2015 (week 4: Pictures and Directors): William Wyler, Three Times Best Director Winner

William Wyler

William Wyler is someone we can call an Oscar Winner director. Well, after John Ford he is (with Frank Capra) the second movie director who has received the most Oscars. He won the award for a total of three of his films: Mrs Miniver, The Best Years of Our Lives and Ben-Hur. These three movie also won the Oscar for Best Picture. Today, for the occasion of the fourth week’s subject of The 31 Days of Oscars Blogathon 2015: Pictures and Directors, I decided to write about William Wyler and these three memorable films.

Mrs Miniver: 

Mrs Miniver

Mrs Miniver is a movie directed in 1942 and starring a bunch of incredible actors: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Dame May Whitty, Henry Travers and Richard Ney. The story takes place in England during the beginning of the World War II. Kay Miniver (Greer Garson) is married to Clem Miniver (Walter Pidgeon) and they have three children: Vin (Richard Ney), Judy and Toby. This middle-class family lives in the little city of Balham. At the beginning of the film, Mrs Miniver is back from town where she went to do some shopping. At the train station, Mr. Ballard (Henry Travers), who works at the train station, wants to show her something special. She accepts and he shows her a beautiful red rose that he had cultivated himself. As he admires Mrs Miniver he tells her that he wants to name this rose the Mrs Miniver rose and want to present it to the annual village flower show. Of course, Kay Miniver is honoured. The next day, Kay, Clem, Judy and Toby go to the train station to welcome Vin who is back from university. During their lunch, Carol Beldon (Theresa Wright), Lady Beldon’s granddaughter comes to ask Mrs Miniver to convince Mr Ballard not to present the Mrs Miniver rose to the flower contest. As it is a beautiful rose, it may have chances to win and her grandmother, Lady Beldon (Dame May Whitty) has always won the contest and this is something very important for her. Carol says this very gently and without any bad intention. However, Vin opposites to her (not very politely), but she stays nice and sweet. Not a long time after, the two will fall in love with each other and will get married. Anyway, everything goes right for the Miniver and the people of Balham until the day the war explodes. England becomes a victim of the German bombings and the people of Balham has to survive in a climate of fear. Then, Vin decides to enlist in the Royal British Air Force to protect his country.

Among the three William Wyler’s films that won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Direction, I have to say that Mrs Miniver is my favourite one. It’s a truly fantastic and unforgettable film. After he directed this film, William Wyler admitted that his first objective with this film was to make a propaganda film. He was convinced that the USA should participate to the war against Nazism. So, with this film, he decided to show to the ordinary American citizens what their British equivalents were going through with the beginning of the war. The film was a success and had a good effect on American’s help for the British during the war. Also, Winston Churchill claimed that this film had done a lot for the war effort. Of course, when you first watch Mrs. Miniver, you don’t appreciate it as a propaganda film, but as a masterpiece. Well, there are many reasons why this film deserved the Best Director (and Best Picture)’s Oscar. It’s first interesting to see a film, not only about war, but about how the ordinary people, those who were not on the front, were living the war. Indeed, in this film, we never saw the England soldiers fighting against the German soldiers. This is how the sound dimension becomes very important in this film. The sound in this film was brilliantly used and was used to show us how the war can be frightful. Of course, I’m thinking of this scene when Kay, Clem, Toby and Judy are in their nuclear bunker and the German’s flight stars throwing bombs on Balham. Of course, they can’t go outside because they will be killed. So, they only heard the bombings and they don’t see them. That’s the same thing for the public, because Wyler decided not to show us what was going on outside. So, we notice that “hear” the war is even more terrifying that seeing it because we don’t know what to expect. Is it worst or less worse than what we are expecting? The next day, the Miniver are back to their house who has been seriously damaged by the bombings. However, life has to continue. With this film, Wyler did an amazing job with the actors’ direction. Greer Garson won the Oscar for Best Actress and Teresa Wright won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Both were truly remarkable and played their part with so much sensibility. The film also received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor (Walter Pidgeon), Best Supporting Actor (Henry Travers) and for another Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Dame May Whitty. Greer Garson didn’t like this film as she thought it wasn’t a good story. I always thought this was very strange as it is a fantastic film and as she gives a beautiful performance. This is the film that made me like Walter Pidgeon. I saw him before in How Green Was My Valley, but he didn’t impress me that much. He did with Mrs. Miniver. I like his beautiful deep voice. It makes me think of Gregory Peck’s voice. I love Teresa Wright since I saw her in Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock, 1938) and that’s the same for Dame May Whitty since I saw her in The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock, 1938). So, it was a real pleasure to see another film starring these two actresses. Finally, Henry Travers gives us a very touching and humble performance in this film. He is really lovable. In fact, all the actor and their character are lovable in this film, even Lady Beldon! Well, with Mrs Miniver, William Wyler directed a movie that I’ll always keep in my heart. A brilliant, touching, beautiful and almost perfect film that once you have seen it, you never forget it. A movie that makes you understand another side of the war. It’s also a movie that grants a great regard to the importance of the family, a value that we tend to neglect, but that becomes very important in times of crisis like the war. Mrs Miniver is a film that make you live many emotions and always in a good way.

The Best Years of Our Lives 

The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives is a film directed in 1946 and starring Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Harold Russell, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo and Kathy O’Donnell. War is over. Al Stephenson (Fredric March), Fred Derry (Dana Andrews) and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell), three American soldier (who had never met before) are going back home. They are travelling in the same plane as they had discovered they all come from the same place: Boone City. The three become friends. Their richest wish is to get back to a normal life with their family, but this won’t be easy. Homer as lost his two hands during the war and he has to face a family who don’t know how to handle this situation. He only wants them to treat him like a normal person. Al is happy to be back to his wife and kids, but he drinks a lot and Fred’s wife has lost interest in him has is new job is not very well-paid. Fred will also fall in love with Peggy, Al’s daughter, but this will be difficult has he is already married. Back to their home, the three soldiers will live hard, but also good moments.

I always thought that The Best Year of Our Lives was a good complement to Mrs. Miniver. You know, Mrs Minver tells us the story of the ordinary citizens DURING the war and The Best Year of Our Lives tell us the story of three soldiers and their family AFTER the war. Of course, Mrs Miniver takes place in England and The Best Years of Our Lives takes place in the United States. I haven’t seen many films about postwar, but I’m sure this one is the best. It’s the kind of film that, after seeing it, you just say “WOW” the kind of movie that makes you understand, just like Mrs Miniver, another side of the war. The actors in this film are wonderful. Frederic March won the Oscar for Best Actor and Harold Russell won the Oscar for Best Supporting actor. However, my favourite performance in this film was Dana Andrews’ one. We can see he did his job seriously and that he knew how to share many emotions. I think he is a very versatile actor. I also like the fact that he falls in love with Teresa Wright in this film and visa versa. The two make a beautiful couple and they have a good chemistry together. Fredric March leads some funny scene of this film (because yes, there are some funny scenes!). I can think of the moment when he forgets to take off of his pyjamas to take his shower. In this film, William Wyler directed some beautiful and memorable scenes. Some very powerful scenes. I can think of the moment when Hamer decides to show to his lovely fiancée, Wilma (Kathy O’Donnell) what it will be like to live with someone who has lost his arms. This scene proves us that she really loves him. Another scene I love is when Dana Andrews goes in that old defected war plane just to feel another time what is was like to be in this kind of plane. Of course, the ending is also unforgettable and I love the moments when a character gives a hug or a kiss to another character because this is done with so much love and it’s so beautiful. Also, a part we’ll never forget after watching this film is when each soldier, at the beginning of the film, is arriving to their home. This is another great emotional moment. The Best Years of Our Lives is certainly one of the most wonderful films ever made. I think that The Best Years of Our Lives and Mrs Miniver are two films that everybody should watch to understand what is was like to live the war out of the front. Now, I would like you to watch this beautiful re-realise trailer. If you haven’t seen The Best Years of Our Lives yet, I’m sure this trailer will make you want to watch it.

Ben-Hur

Ben Hur

Ben-Hur is a film directed in 1959 and starring Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harrareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott and Kathy O’Donnell. This film received a great total of 11 Oscars (!) including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Actor (Charlton Heston) and Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith). Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), a Jewish prince and rich merchant, lives in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century during the Roman Empire Era. His friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) comes to see him. He is now the new commandant of the Roman garrison. He ask his friend not to be part of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire. Judah has to choose between his friendship for Messala and his loyalty for his people. Even if he is a pacifist, he chooses the loyalty. Then, Messala becomes his enemy. After an incident, Messala betrays his former friend and makes him a slave in the Roman galleys. Ben-Hur only wish to recover his freedom and to get his revenge.

Ben-Hur is certainly the most well known William Wyler’s film. I mean, everybody knows Ben-Hur, even those who don’t watch classic films or those who don’t know who is William Wyler. This is probably because of the horse race’s scene. One of the most famous scenes in cinema’s history. I must admit, before I saw this film, I really don’t know what to expect from this scene. I was saying to myself that it couldn’t be THAT much wonderful. Well, it was. It’s really the best scene of the film and one of the most remarkable work of filming and editing. For this scene, William Wyler chose the camera angles, but he left the details of its shooting to his second-unit directors Andrew Marton and Yakima Canutt. When he saw the result, Mrs Wyler said that this was “one of the greatest cinematic achievements” he had ever seen. Wyler supervised the editing of this scene. This might have been a tough job as there is a lot of action a movements in this scene. Well, this editing was a success and that’s what make this scene so thrilling. I remember, when I was watching the film, I didn’t want this scene to end has it was so well-made. Oh, I think it will be a good idea to watch it now.

With Ben-Hur, William Wyler (who was Jewish) wanted to make a movie that would appeal to all religious faiths (IMDB). I think he did a great job at this level. What’s also interesting is the fact that this film is the remake of another film : Ben-Hur : A Tale of the Christ, a silent film directed by Fred Niblo in 1925. William Wyler and Henry Hathaway (another great movie director) actually worked on this film as the assistant directors. One more time, William Wyler did a great job with the actor in this film. Charlton Heston gives us a great performance for sure. However, I must admit I don’t really remember Hugh Griffith’s performance. I unfortunately didn’t have time to watch this 3h30 film very recently, so it’s less fresh in my memory. Ben-Hur is a great epic that had a good success. It cost $ 15 M and it won around $ 150 M at that world Box Office only for the initial release. I must admit it’s not my favourite William Wyler’s film, but it remains an excellent and worth watching film, especially for the horse race’s scene. William Wyler certainly did an amazing direction job. Finally, another thing I’ll never forget about this film is the wonderful score composed by Miklós Rózsa. What will be this film without this grandiose music?

William Wyler is my third favourite movie director and it was a pleasure to write about three of his films. William Wyler received the Best Director Oscar for three of his films, but he was also nominated for 9 other films: Dodsworth, Wuthering Heights, The Letter, The Little Foxes, The Heiress, Detective Story, Roman Holiday, Friendly Persuasion and The Collector. He really was one of the greatest movie directors in Hollywood. My favourite Wyler’s film is Roman Holiday. It’s also my 10th favourite movie of all times. Now, I would like you to watch my little video tribute I made in honour of William Wyler. Enjoy!

This was already the last text for the occasion of The 31 Days of Oscars Blogathon. It was a real pleasure to participate to this very nice event! Hope I’ll be back next year for the occasion. And thanks to all the hosts for taking care of this blog event. Make sure to read the other entries for this blogathon.

http://aurorasginjoint.com/2015/01/05/31-days-of-oscar-blogathon-2015/

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31 Days of Oscar Blogathon 2015 (Week 3: The Crafts) : My Fair Lady and the Outstanding Costumes of Cecil Beaton

Audrey Hepburn and Cecil Beaton on the set of My fair lady

I have to say that Cecil Beaton is my favourite photographer, but he was also an incredible costume designer. He created the costumes of 14 movies: Kipps, Dangerous Moonlight, On Approval, The Young Mr. Pitt, Anna Karenina (1948), An Ideal Husband, Beware of Pity, Dandy DickThe Truth about WomenMajor Barbara, GigiThe Doctor’s Dilemma, My Fair Lady and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. He won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for two of these films: Gigi and, of course, My Fair Lady. He also won the Oscar for Best Art Direction for My Fair Lady. The costumes in this film are some of the most incredible and creative one I have ever seen on screen. Really, Mr Beaton had a great imagination and knew perfectly how to go out  the limits. For the 3rd Week subject of the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon 2015 (The Crafts), I chose to write about these colourful and unforgettable costumes: their particularities, how they change and evolute in the film, how they participate to the evolution of Liza Doolittle, etc. I read on IMDB that, even if most of the credits for art direction and costume designing went to Beaton, Gene Allen (art director) said later that Beaton only design the women’s costumes. Is that true or not? Whatever, let’s be honest, the most interesting costumes in this film are those wear by the ladies.

Audrey Hepburn and Cecil Beaton, My Fair Lady

My Faire Lady is a movie directed by George Cukor, released in 1964 and starring Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins, Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle, Wilfrid Hyde-White as Colonel Hugh Pickering, Gladys Cooper as Mme Higgins and Jeremy Brett as Freddy Eynsford-Hill. This 8 Oscars-winning film is a screen adaptation of a Broadway musical, itself based on the play by George Bernard  Shaw, Pygmalion. The story takes place in London during the beginning of the 20th century. Eliza Doolittle, a poor cockney flower seller, meets Professor Henry Higgins, an arrogant teacher of elocution who laughs at her accent. She then asks him to help her improve her diction and way to talk. Higgins makes a bet with the Colonel Hugh Pickering (another phonetic expert) that he could transform Eliza as a great lady. Then, the lessons start for Eliza for a period of 6 months until the moment she’ll be ready to be part of the High Society.

Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison My Fair Lady

Well, now let’s focus on the principal subject of this text: the costumes. It interesting to see how the costumes in My Faire Lady define the social classes. At the beginning, you see a group of rich people going out of an opera. They are wearing very colourful costumes with many extravagant accessories, especially the ladies. They wear orange, red, purple, blue, golden, black dresses. They wear feathers in their hair, flowers and big hats.  Then, you see the poor London working class. Their clothes are much more ordinary, more brown, grey or black and, overall, very simple. It’s in that type of clothes that Audrey Hepburn makes her first appearance in the story. She wears a beige dress with a green coat and a brown scarf. Her hair are  disheveled and  a black straw hat is placed on the top of her head. We can see those clothes are the ones of a poor lady, that she belongs to the poor London class. Her occupation is to sell flowers. In the same scene, professor Higging makes his entrance too. He wears a brown coat and a hat that makes him look like a detective. He’s taking notes in a notebook (he notes what Eliza is saying) and seems to know where everybody comes from. The colonel, who is in this scene too, also believes at first that he is a detective. Well, Higgins tells to the crowd that he is a phonetic teacher. So, there we can see how the costumes deceive the public, but also the other characters of the films on the identity of the one who is wearing them. Most of the time, professor Higgins wears brown or beige clothes, except during the ball scene where he wears a black tuxedo (like all the men in this scene) and during the scene that takes place in his mother’s house. There, his clothes are grey. What’s interesting about these brown clothes is the fact that the colour brown is also the colour of chocolate, something that Eliza loves. She loves chocolate, but she will FALL in love with Higgings. Brown also symbolizes the solidity. Indeed, Higgins seems to be a strong man. The colour grey can symbolize the solitude. Higgins is wearing grey clothes after Eliza has left him. What was also interesting about Higgin’s brown and beige clothes, it’s the fact that they fit with the colours of his house. That’s also the case for the maid clothes. 

Audrey Hepburn My Fair LadyRex Harrison My Fair Lady

What is especially interesting about this film is to see the evolution of Eliza’s clothes. As I said, when we first see her, she’s wearing rags, but when she decides to go see Higgins, we can see she tried to dress up the best she could. She’s wearing a large hat with big  feathers fixed on it, but her dress remains very sober. These clothes are more synonyms of exaggeration than elegance. Wearing a big hat doesn’t make you a classy lady and that’s perfectly showed in this scene. She seems more to wear a Halloween costume. Then, after she has taken her bath, she wears a simple, but pretty grey dress. It’s still a very simple dress, but the shape is more elegant. Her hair are also well combed. At this moment of the film, she hasn’t really improved her language yet. In this scene, her father is coming to Higgins house and he first doesn’t recognize her daughter. During the Rain in Spain‘s scene, the first time Eliza speaks correctly, Audrey Hepburn wears a very pretty green dress, well adjusted to her waist. She wears a necklace (that’s the first time she’s wearing one in the film) and some little flowers are fixed on the dress. That’s the first moment of the film that she really seems happy. We also believe that’s when she falls in love with Higgins. She’s now ready to visit the high society.

Rex-and-Audrey-in-My-fair-LadyAudrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady

The moment where the costumes of the films are at their best is probably during the horse race’s scene. Here, all the ladies’ costumes are black and white, but the forms, the details, the big hats were created with so much creativity and are all very diversified. We can notice that the dresses are straight and very chic. The ladies are wearing pearls, feathers, lace, white flowers and frills. We can also notice some striped dresses. Most of them are also holding an umbrella. In this scene, Eliza wears a real high society dress. This one is made of white lace and is decorated with black and white striped patches. She also wears a big hat with a big feather like all the ladies in the crowd. We can notice the presence of a red flower on her hat. This is a way to show that she is not perfectly compliant with this group. Remember that this first entrance in the high society will be a fiasco, first because she exaggerates too much her way of speaking and then because her bad language habits will come back when she’ll shoot at a racehorse: “Come on, Dover! Come on, Dover! Move your bloomin’ arse!” In this scene, all the men wear the same grey suit except for professor Higgins as I said sooner.

Audrey Hepburn, My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady

During the ball scene, Eliza will now really look and act like a real lady. She wears  a very simple, but wonderful shiny beige dress with diamonds on it, a large necklace made of diamonds and a tiara also made of diamonds. She also wears long white gloves and has a complicated hairdo. To go out, she wears an elegant red coat. In this scene, she really looks like a princess or a duchess. Remember, she dances with the prince during this scene. She finally became a great lady. The other dresses in the ball scene are more colourful than the dresses during the horse race’s scene. However, these are pastel colours. The ladies are still wearing feathers and flowers in their hair, but also tiaras, like Eliza, instead of big hats. The men are all wearing black tuxedos and Higgings doesn’t make exception. When he’s back home, this one is wearing a white scarf and he’s now very elegant.

Audrey Hepburn, My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady

After she has been disappointed by the professor who seems to not really care about her, Eliza leaves the house. In this scene, she wears a pink salmon skirt with a white shirt and a salmon jacket. She also wears a simple but elegant straw hat with pink flowers on it and a lilac ribbon and little white gloves. These are very simple traveling clothes, but they prove us that she knows now how to dress up and what kind of clothes she should wear depending on  what she’s doing. With these clothes on, she decides to go back where she comes from, in the poor working class of London. Unfortunately, nobody recognizes her. That’s a sad moment. The final dress Audrey Hepburn wears in this film is a very vaporous candy pink dress. She also wears a pink and a very elegant hat. There she is very classy and knows perfectly how to act with people of the high society and she’s now herself part of it. She became a real fair lady.

Audrey Hepburn, My Fair LadyAudrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady

So, as you can see, it’s very nice to see the progression of the costumes in this film. Cecil Beaton did a remarkable job and I really wonder where he found all these incredible ideas, especially for the costumes of the horse race’s scene! We can see some very extravagant costumes, but also some very elegant and refined costumes. Audrey Hepburn was lucky to wear all these clothes! As Eva-Marie Saint says in North by Northwest, “patience is a virtue”, and I imagine you must have a good patience to design all these wonderful costumes. Cecil Beaton’s Oscar was very well deserved. It rewards a long and hard work that participated brilliantly to the visual aspect of the film. It’s interesting to notice that there is not many close-up in this film, that’s was probably because they wanted us to see these wonderful costumes as much as possible. These next images are promotional pictures of Audrey Hepburn for the film. I believe they were taken by Cecil Beaton. An interesting thing about these pictures is the fact that these costumes are not wearing by Audrey Hepburn in the film, they were only used for the promotion. However, they were still designed in the My Fair Lady‘s style.

Audrey Hepburn, My Fair LadyAudrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn, My Fair LadyAudrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady

One more time, that was a pleasure to participate to the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon. Make sure to read the other entries!

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Cecil BeatonCecil Beaton

Some Like it Hot: Well, This Film Is Perfect!

Some Like it Hot

I said to myself, the other day, that it would be intelligent to write a review of my favourite movie of all times. So, there it is, my Some Like it Hot‘s review, a movie that I can watch over and over always with a great pleasure. Before I saw this film, I had a feeling, just by seeing the trailer, that it will maybe become one of my very favourite movies. And it does as you can see! For a long time I hesitate between this one, Forrest Gump and Bringing Up Baby as my favourite movie, but now I’ve made my choice. 🙂 Some Like it Hot was directed by Billy Wilder in 1959

Where can I start? There’s so much to say about this film! Well, let’s start with a little summary, just to situate you a little.  Chicago 1929, during prohibition. A hearse is rolling over the streets of Chicago, but soon, as the police cars are coming, we discover that this car is full of gangsters. The gunshots start and the coffin is perforated. This one is full of bottles of alcohol. The hears arrives at Mozzarella’s funeral parlour and the group of gangsters is welcomed by their chief Spats Columbo (George Raft). Later, the police raids in this place. Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are two friends and two musicians in the “funeral” band. Joe plays the saxophone and Jerry plays the double bass. They succeed to escape from the police raid. Now, they have to find another job. Nellie (Joe’s girlfriend) decides to make a joke to them and tells them that a band is looking for a saxophone and a double base. The two fellows are very happy and relieved, but they discover that this is a band… for girls! Then, on Valentine’s Day, they are witnesses of a killing between rival gangs of the Mafia. Joe and Jack have to run away, otherwise they’ll be killed by Spats Colombo (George Raft) and his gang. So, they decide to apply for the famous girls’ band. Of course, this is a band only for ladies, so they’ll have to dress up as girls: Josephine and Daphné. The group is going to Florida. On the train, Joe and Gerry meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) who becomes a good friend. In Florida, Gerry meets  Osgood Fielding III a rich millionaire who has a yatch and who is desperately looking for a new wife (again!). Joe, who has fallen in love with Sugar, start a little “mise-en-scène” to conquer her. Everything seems to go well for the two fellows, but Spats Colombo and his gang will eventually show up again…

Some Like it Hot

The screenplay of this film is so great.  I mean, there is so much creative and funny quotes that’ll make you laugh and laugh. The moments when you don’t laugh or simply smile while watching this film are rare! I can say, without a doubt, that this is one of the films I can quote the best. In general, Billy Wilder’s films are always well written and this one doesn’t make exception. The story is also very good, well, settled and captivating The movie starts with action: a group of gangsters in a hearse is pursued. Then, we’ll discover that the coffin is full of alcohol (champagne I believe). This is Chicago during prohibition. We wonder what will happen next. The script was written by L.I.A Diamond and Billy Wilder. Some Like it Hot’s screenplay received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was based on a story by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan. I would like now to share some of my favourite quotes from the film:

1- Junior:  I guess some like it hot. I personally prefer classical music.

2- Jerry: Have I got things to tell you!

Joe: What happened?

Jerry: I’m engaged.

Joe: Congratulations. Who’s the lucky girl?

Jerry: I am!

3- Osgood: I am Osgood Fielding the third.

Daphne: I’m Cinderella the second.

4- Osgood: Well, nobody’s perfect!

5- Sweet Sue:  Beinstock, I ought to fire you!

Beinstock: Me? I’m the manager of the band, not the night watchman.

6- Sugar: Shell Oil Junior. He’s got millions, he’s got glasses, he’s got a yacht!

Joe: You don’t say.

Jerry: He’s not only got a yacht, he’s got a bicycle!

7- Sugar : [admiring a large fish trophy] What is it?

Junior: It’s a member of the herring family.

Sugar: A herring? Isn’t it amazing how they get those big fish into those little glass jars?

Junior: They shrink when they’re marinated.

8- Spat’s Henchman: Excuse me, ain’t I had the pleasure of meetin’ you two broads before?

Jerry: Oh, no. You must be thinking of two other broads.

Ok I have to stop! But there’s too much great lines in this film! http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6jcvlT4Bf1qgvdf9o2_500.gif

Another thing I love about this film is the casting. Tony Curtis fits perfectly the role of Joe/Josephine/Junior. How amazing it is to play kind of three persons (well, one person who pretend to be two other persons). When he is Junior, he kind of imitates Cary Grant’s voice, but this one said about it: “I don’t speak like that!” Well, that remains funny. Marilyn Monroe also did a great job as Sugar. I have to say, this is my second favourite performance of this actress after The Misfits. She’s sweet, funny and so lovable and has a gorgeous smile. That’s hard and sad to believe that this was one of her last films. 😦 We can also see and hear her sing some songs. Her voice is so enjoyable. Dave Barry who plays  Beinstock, the band manager, is also very funny. He always seems a little lost after Joe steals his suitcase and his glasses. Well, how can you be not funny with a name like  Beinstock… One of my favourite moments in the films is when Sweet Sue, the bandleader of “Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators” shot at him: “BEEEEINNNSTOCK!!” when she is angry. Sweet Sue was played by Joan Shawlee. George Raft plays a delicious villain : “Spats” Colombo, a Chicago gangster obsessed by his shoes spats. In this film, you’ll also have the chance to see Edward G. Robinson Jr (yes, Edward G. Robinson’s son!) in a small role. The guy in the cake… But really, the actors who perfectly steals the show, my favourite ones in this film are certainly Jack Lemmon and Joe E. Brown! And they make such a funny team together. The movie ends with an unforgettable dialogue between the two and think of this moment when they are dancing tango! This is really one of my favourite moments of the film. About Jack Lemmon, just when I see him in this film, even when he doesn’t say anything, I laugh or smile. How adorable and cute he is with theses round and surprised eyes. He also had the voice of comedy. A voice you’ll always remember and who is always well chosen with the emotions he wants to share. The way he moves as a girl is also worth seeing. I love when he makes this little hand move after saying something. This is a real caricature, because girls don’t really do that! 😛 Well, I must also say that the funniest moments of the film are the ones with Jack Lemmon. Jack received an Oscar nomination for his performance in this film. About Joe E. Brown, how can you forget that big smile, that look when he sees the “girls” arriving at the hotel,  this “Zowie!”. Really, he was one of the funniest character actors.

Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis Some Like it HotJoe E. Brown and Tony Curtis Some Like it HotSome Like It Hot (1959)George Raft Some Like it Hot

What I also like about this film is the music. A lovely and very entertaining score, including some lovely tunes like “Running Wild” “I Want to Be Loved by You”, “By the Sea” and more. The music in this film is also one of the elements that takes you into the mood of the film. You know, I can’t skip the opening titles because of the music. So jazzy and so hot! 😉 One of my favourite “music moments” of the film is the tango between Jerry/Daphné and Osgood. I also love the moment when Sugar sings “Running Wild” and the way Jerry/Daphné plays his double bass with too much enthusiasm! Anyway, let’s not forget that music is one of the most important themes of this film. What will Some Like it Hot be without this music?! Well, it just wouldn’t be the same movie.

I want to finish this review by talking to you about some of my favourite scenes and some of the funniest. First, I think of the party scene in the train compartment.  Daphne (Jerry) is sleeping and Sugar comes visits him and thanks him for having told Sweet Sue that the bottle of alcohol belonged to him (it was Sugar bottle, but she would have been kicked off the train if they would have surprised her drinking again). In this scene, Daphne proposed to Sugar to take a drink. But they are making some noise so the other girls wake up. The result: a party with 12 girls… and a man (poor Jerry!) in a little train compartment. Another of my favourite scenes is the tango scene. What make this scene funny is just the face expression of Jack  Lemmon and Joe E. Brown when they are dancing. I also love the fact that Jerry discover kind of a passion for tango after that. On the same hand, another of my favourite moments is when Jerry says to Joe that he is engaged to Osgood. The dialogues in this scene are so funny and also very zany. Another scene I love is the moment when Nellie (Joe’s girlfriend) says to Joe and Jerry that a music band is looking for saxophone and a double bass player. Joe and Jerry are very happy, but they’ll discover that this is a band for girls! Jerry’s reaction here is the best. Of course, as many people I’m sure, I love the ending of this film, when Jerry decided to tell the truth to Osgood. And there is many, many scenes I love in this film, but I can’t name them all! In other words, I love all the film!

Some Like it Hot

Well, now you know some of the main reasons why Some Like it Hot is my favourite film. I could go on and on, but all good things have to end. If you haven’t seen this wonderful film yet, please take a moment to. Really, you won’t regret it. All the people I know who have seen this film have enjoyed it. If you’re sad and you’re in for a big laugh, this is the perfect movie. After all, Some Like it Hot was voted the best comedy of all times!

Some Like it hot

William Holden’s Films Marathon: Review & Feedback

William Holden

I’m happy to tell you that I have now finished my long William Holden’s films marathon. From Golden Boy to Fedora, I saw a total of 16 of his films. The only one I had seen before was Sunset Boulevard. I try to see new movies in my marathons. My introduction to this marathon was an episode of I Love Lucy where William Holden, as a guest star, plays his own role. This is really one of the funniest I Love Lucy’s episodes I’ve seen so far. Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred are going to Hollywood. Lucy and Ethel can’t wait to see movie stars. In a restaurant, William Holden is sitting at the table next to them and Lucy can’t stop watching it. William Holden, who is tired of having no privacy, decided to teach a lesson to Lucy and does to her what she does to him: watching her without discretion. The result is very funny. But now let’s go into the movies, from 1939 to 1978, almost 40 years of Holden!

William Holden and Lucille Ball (I love Lucy)

Film 1: Golden Boy (Rouben Mamoulian, 1939)

Role: Joe Bonaparte

Barbara Stanwyck and William Holden Golden Boy

It’s the famous Barbara Stanwyck who insisted for William Holden to be part of this film. She was right to give him this chance, because William Holden didn’t really have the chance to prove he could become a great star before this film. See, Golden Boy is William Holden’s third’s film and his first film as a leading actor. His two other first films are probably forgotten, but even if Golden Boy is not his most famous film like Sunset Boulevard or The Bridge on the River Kwai, it’s really this film that shows us, for the first time, a memorable William Holden. Also, William Holden was sometimes called Bill Holden, but another of his nicknames was “Golden Boy”. When she received her honorary Oscar, Barbara Stanwyck thanked her friend William Holden by calling him “his Golden Boy. In this movie, William Holden gives us a performance full of sensibility. He plays the part of Joe Bonaparte, a violinist who wants to start boxing because it’s a better way to have a safe financial future. His father (brilliantly played by Lee J. Cobb) opposes to this decision, because he knows that his son is made for music and not for boxing. He knows that this will make him unhappy. Barbara Stanwyck is the William Holden’s boxing agent (Adolphe Menjou) who, at first, manipulates Joe so he won’t quit the boxing. But after a visit to Joe’s family house, she understands, like Joe’s father, that he is really made for the music. She also insists for him to continue what he really likes. Joe hates boxing, but in another way, it brings him money. So, in this movie full of hard decisions, William Holden plays his part with a lot of emotions and refinement. This scene where he plays violin while closing his eyes is very beautiful; ringingly and visually. It touches me because I used to play violin when I was younger.

Film 2: Our Town ( Sam Wood, 1940)

Role: George Gibbs

Our Town

In this beautiful little film, William Holden plays, one more time, a very touching character. But this time, he seems more innocent than in Golden Boy, less “tough”. However, for his sensibility, this character played by William Holden can still make us think of his character in Golden Boy. In a sad scene where is father explains to him that his mother had to chop wood because he forget to, William Holden, remorseful, cries quietly. This is a sad, but kind of beautiful scene because it doesn’t consider this rule full of nonsense that a man can’t cry.

Film 3: The Remarkable Andrew (Stuart Heisler, 1942)

Role: Andrew Long

The Remarkable Andrew

In this movie, I met a funny Bill Holden! Like Sabrina (that I have seen before), this is a comedy, but William Holden is even more funny here than he is in Sabrina. One more time, as he was very young, he plays a young man full of innocence and imagination. In The Remarkable Andrew, Holden plays the role of Andrew Long, a young accountant who finds a $1240 discrepancy in the city budget. His superior tries to explain this, but Andrew decides to  pursue his little investigation and becomes in danger of being blame himself. Then, the spirit of Andrew Jackson, his idol, visits him and tries to help him with the spirit of some great men of American history. Of course, nobody except Andrew can see them, that’s where the power of imagination is brilliantly used. One of my favourite moments is when Jackson asks Andrew for a drink and her offers him some grape juice. That was so cute.

Film 4: Dear Ruth (William D. Russell, 1947)

Role: Lieutenant William Seacroft

Dear Ruth

This is another comedy with a really funny William Holden. The funniest I must say. Even more funny than his character in The Remarkable Andrew. What’s make Bill funny here, it’s his big passion for a girl he had never met before… Miriam Wilkins (Mona Freeman), a teenage girl who want to help the world and fight for causes has a soldier for a pen pal. However, she used her sister Ruth’s signature in those letters that becomes love letters. Everything will be out of control when this soldier, William Seacroft (William Holden) decides to show up to Ruth’s place during a two-day leave. Ruth (Joan Caulfield) has to pretend, but she will have to tell him the truth sooner or later. William is really in love with her and all he wants is to marry her and be alone with her. Ruth is also engaged to another man, Albert Kummer (Billy De Wolfe). Some of the very funny Bill Holden’s moments in this film is when he kisses his dear Ruth. That’s full of passion, but also full of indiscretion because he does it in front of everybody. Well, as we say, love is blind! This movie was a great surprise and a very nice one to watch.

Film 5: Apartment for Peggy ( George Seaton, 1948)

Role: Jason Taylor

Apartment for Peggy

This film was the first of four movie collaborations between Holden and Seaton. I must admit, as much as this was a beautiful film, I haven’t much to say about William Holden’s performance here. Not necessarily because he had a supporting role, but, even if his performance was right in this film, it wasn’t outstanding neither. Also, let’s admit that, in this film, Edmund Gwen, who plays the main character, steals the show.

Film 6: Miss Grant Takes Richmond (Lloyd Bacon, 1949)

Role: Dick Richmond

Miss Grant Takes Richmond

One more time, in this nice and easy comedy, William Holden gives us a good performance, but nothing extraordinary neither. William Holden is an excellent actor, but here, he seems to respect what we told him to do without going out of his limits. Lucille Ball, who plays Dick’s secretary, steals the show here, really. However, I must say that his team work with Mrs Ball seems to have worked pretty well. They were great together and it was nice to see them together in a movie after having watched this delightful I Love Lucy‘s episode.

Film 7: Father Is a Bachelor ( Aby Berlin and Norman Foster, 1950)

Role: Johnny Rutledge

Father is a Bachelor

This is really not William Holden’s most famous film, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Well, let me tell you that I adored it! It’s now my second favourite Holden’s film after Sunset Boulevard. I wish more people will see it because it is a very nice and touching movie. It’s what we call a beautiful family movie also. In this film, you will see William Holden singing! Unfortunately, it is not his real singing voice, but it remains fun to watch and listen. Johnny Rutledge (William Holden) is a carefree vagabond. One day, his employer Professor Mordecai Ford is put in jail so Johnny has to continue his road alone. In a small town in the country, he meets a young girl named May. She lives alone with her four brothers: January, February, March and April. They are orphans. Quickly, the kids, especially May, will find a friend in Johnny, but also a father. Johnny who is, at first, not sure this is a good idea, will see himself taking care of them just like they were his real children. This movie was just so heartwarming. William Holden plays someone with a great heart who will do everything, even steal, for these children. He is very tender behind his tough attitude and it’s fantastic to see him a very kind person who take care of those poor children. He really is a hero in this film.

Film 8 : Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)

Role: Joe Gillis

William Holden Sunset Boulevard

As I just said, Sunset Boulevard is my favourite William Holden’s film. In this film, he gives us another memorable performance for which he received a Best Actor Oscar’s nomination. I think this movie is just fascinating. I mean, everything is perfectly set. I love the narration in it and I think Holden did it brilliantly. He talks with a good fluidity and express himself very clearly. What I like about his acting in this film is to see how his behaviour is different depending of who he is talking to. With Betty, Joe is not the same person as he is with Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), the fallen actress. His acting in this film is just fine because it is very thoughtful, nothing is exaggerated. We can feel he knew what he was doing. What is also fantastic about this film is the complicity between Holden and Nancy Olson. In the movie, Holden’s character, Joe Gillis, and Olson character, Betty Schafer begin to write a screenplay together and they just make a great team. Unfortunately, because of Norma’s jealousy, the project doesn’t go very far, well, not for Joe. Believe it or not, this movie is one of the reasons that made me want to study screen writing. It’s a movie about screenwriters, but also a brilliant screenplay, my favourite one I must say. It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Film 9 : Born Yesterday (George Cukor, 1950)

Role: Paul Verrall

William Holden and Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday)

This was a very interesting movie and, one more time, William Holden plays the role of someone who care about other people. Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday) is engaged to Harry Brock, a rich man with strange money business. Billie is not very intelligent and Harry takes the occasion and makes her responsible of his maneuvering. Unfortunately for him, Billie’s stupidity becomes very embarrassing for him and his business. So, he decides to ask Paul Verrall (William Holden), a brilliant journalism, to help Billie to be more cultivated. Unfortunately, this will go too far for Harry because Billie will become more intelligent than he would have wished and less docile too. Judy Holliday won the Best Actress Oscar for this role. William Holden was great too and he had a good chemistry with the actress. He plays someone very nice, actually the nicest man in this story.

Film 10: Boots Malone (William Dietrele, 1952)

Role : Boots Malone 

Boots Malone

The movie by itself was ok, but not my favourite one. However, I liked William Holden’s performance in it. He plays the tough guy who also has a great heart. So, because of that, it was a touching movie. Some parts were a little long or repetitive, that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy the movie too much. I loved the ending tho.

Film 11: The Turning Point (William Dietrele, 1952)

Role: Jerry McKibbon

The Turning Point

Really, I don’t have much to say about this film either. When I watched it, it didn’t really captivate me. Not that it was not a good movie, but it was not the best noir I ever saw either. Holden was good, played his role rightly, but honestly, I remember more Edmond O’Brien in this film. I have seen it since a less long time that Golden Boy, but I remember Golden Boy best as it was a movie that captivated me much more. Sometimes my parents don’t remember a movie just after a week, well, for me it’s rare, but it is the case for this one.

Film 12: Stalag 17 (Billy Wilder, 1953)

Role: Sgt. J.J. Sefton

William Holden Stalag 17William Holden Oscar

What a great performance we have here! Well, so great that William won the Best Actor Oscar for it! This comedy tells the story of a group of American soldiers who are made prisoners in a German World War II prisoner of war camp. Their objective is to escape by many strategies, but they become suspect that one of them is an informant and Sergeant J.J Sefton (William Holden) is the first one to receive the accusations. Of course, as we love Holden, we don’t want him to be guilty! This was a fantastic performance by him because he expresses his character’s emotions rightly, without exaggerate anything. This was really a TRUE performance, I believed in it. One more time, Billy Wilder directed him perfectly. What I also love about this performance, it’s that it’s a good one to see Holden’s versatility. Sometime Sefton is serious, sometime he has a good sense of humour or is deliciously mocker. An interesting fact about this film is that, when Holden received his Oscar, his speech was the shortest speech in Academy Awards history. He simply said “Thank you.” He hurried to much because TV broadcast had a strict cutoff time, but he explained after that he really wanted to thank the people he worked with, especially Billy Wilder.

Film 13: The Proud and Profane (George Seaton, 1956)

Role:  Lt. Col. Colin Black

William Holden and Deborah Kerr (The Proud and Profane)

Honestly, it was strange to see William Holden with a moustache! Well, that doesn’t make him a bad actor of course. In this film, William Holden was very different than in the other movies of him I had seen before. He plays someone that we will not really like at first. However, his character has a good evolution through the event of the film. Here, the public will probably share Deborah Kerr’s emotion depending of Holden’s actions. He is hard to follow, because sometimes he’s a real bastard, but sometimes he is quite lovable. It’s interesting to see that, in the 50’s, Holden really started to play in war movies like this one or Stalag 17 or The Bridge on the River Kwai. The funniest Holden was the Holden of the 40’s. I was also happy to see this film because of Deborah Kerr gives us a brilliant performance. Her team work with Holden was also very interesting.

Film 14: The Devil’s Brigade (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1968)

Role:  Lt. Col. Robert T. Frederick

The Devil's Brigade

As you can see, here I skipped 12 years of William Holden’s films. However, like in The Proud and Profane, this is also a war movie. This film tells the true story of The Devil’s Brigade during the World War II. The American Lieutenant Colonel Robert T. Frederick (Holden) has the mission to form a commando force with both American and Canadian soldiers specialized in mountain combat. The first part of the film is the training and the second part is the combat between the Americans and the Germans in Italy. Really, I didn’t know what to expect from this film because I had never really heard of before. Honestly, I enjoy it. It was interesting to see the difference between the American soldiers and the Canadian soldiers. At the beginning, they don’t really like each other, but they will learn to appreciate each other and be a real team. The music in this film was very good also. About Holden, I liked his performance, because he plays someone very wise. Someone who thinks before doing anything, he is the real war hero of this picture. This is an older Holden, but this performance just makes me realized that this actor was talented at all ages.

Film 15: Breezy (Clint Eastwood, 1973)

Role: Frank Harmon

BreezyWilliam Holden and Clint Eastwood on the set of Breezy

Breezy is a beautiful and very simple film directed by the one and only Clint Eastwood. I had only seen three of the movies he directed (BreezyThe Bridge of Madison County and Mystic River) and really, I can say, without hesitation, that Breezy is my favourite one. Breezy ( Kay Lenz) is a young hippie who fells in love with a forties man played by our William Holden. Her love for him is so true that it makes you forget their age difference. Both actors give us a beautiful performance in this film and they make a beautiful couple together. One of my favourite moments of this film is when they go to the beach together, I also love those lines:

Frank: “Hello my love.”

Breezy: “Hello my life.”

I mean, who would like Holden to tell us “Hello my love” whatever his age?! After seeing three war films with Holden, it was nice to see something different, it was nice to see him as someone more “ordinary”, closer to us. In this film, his relation with a young girl can make us think a little about his relation with Faye Dunaway character in Network.

Film 16: Fedora (Billy Wilder, 1978)

Role: Barry “Dutch” Detweiler

FEDORA

Wow! What a fantastic way to finish my marathon! One more time, this was another brilliant film directed by my second favourite movie director, the incredible Billy Wilder. This was also Holden’s last film under the direction of this movie director. In Fedora, Holden stars as Barry “Dutch” Detweiler, an independent producer and movie writer who learn the death of the famous actress Fedora. Then, he remembers his unsuccessful tentative to bring her back to screen two weeks ago. Meeting Fedora was difficult because she seemed to be trapped by the occupants of the isolated villa on a Greek island where she lives. But soon, Barry will learn the truth about Fedora. Really, what I like about this film is the fact that it’s a movie full of surprises.  I expected nothing about what happen. It’s captivating and you really want to know what will happen, what Barry will discover about Fedora. This movie makes me think a little of Sunset Boulevard as it is about a fallen actress. Holden was brilliant in this film. His performance is strong and it’s interesting to see how he makes his character reacts to the things he learns about Fedora. It was nice to compare my reactions to his reactions.

So, that was it for this famous William Holden’s films marathon. As you can see, I eliminated some films ( The Lion, The Revengers, The Earthling and The Bridges at Toko-Ri), but don’t worry, I had seen The Bridges at Toko-Ri before and I will see the other ones another time. This is really just a question of time because I really have to start another marathon. As you can see, Network, Sabrina, Paris When it Sizzles, The Country Girl and The Bridge on the River Kwai were not on my list. The reason is just that I had seen these films before and I try to see new movies in my marathons. I would have liked to see Picnic and The Wild Bunch, but I didn’t find them, so it will be for another time. Seeing William Holden’s on FIVE decades was very interesting. I realized he was a very versatile actor. Thanks to this marathon, I have now seen a total of 22 William Holden’s films! Really, he was a fantastic actor. To finish this text, I would like to do a top 10 of all the movies I have seen during this marathon. So there it goes:

1- Sunset Boulevard
2- Father is a Bachelor
3- Golden Boy
4- Dear Ruth
5- Breezy
6- Stalag 17
7- Fedora
8- The Remarkable Andrew
9- The Devil’s Brigade
10- Miss Grant Takes Richmond

Next week, the Dolores Hart’s films marathon will REALLY start. I promise!

William Holden

Buster Keaton Blogathon: It’s free and easy to love Free & Easy!

Free & Easy poster

Free & Easy is a 1930’s film, kind of a musical comedy, directed by Edward Sedgwick and starring Buster Keaton, Robert Montgomery, Anita Page and Trixie Friganza. This movie was Buster Keaton first talking picture and, unfortunately, it didn’t have a big success and it’s not one of his most well-known films. In fact, his last success was The Cameraman (Edward Sedgwick, 1928). However, I have to admit that Free & Easy is one of my very favourite Buster Keaton’s films. I have seen it so many times and I never get tired to. It’s just a very underrated film that deserves to be better known. For the occasion of the very first Buster Keaton Blogaton hosted by Silent-Ology, I’m going to explain to you why I love this film and why Buster Keaton is great in this film. If you haven’t seen it, I hope my text will make you want to see it and if you have seen it, but didn’t like it, I hope you’ll give it another try! 

Anita Page and Buster Keaton

In Free & Easy, Buster Keaton plays the part of Elmer Butts, Miss Gopher City’s manager. Miss Gopher City’s name is Elvira Plunkett and this part is played by the lovely Anita Page. Elmer, Elvira and Elvira’s mother (who don’t like Elmer very much) are going to Hollywood to make Elvira a star. On the train, they met the famous cinema’s star Larry Mitchell (Robert Montgomery). He invites them the his film premiere and then invites Elvira and her mother to come visit the studio where he works. Here they met the movie director Fred Niblo and Ma Plunckett only wishes he’ll make her dear Elvira a big movie star. However, things turned out differently. The result will be that Elmer and Ma Plunckett will be part of the film, but not Elvira. But she doesn’t mind because she feels like acting is not for her. Larry and Elvira will fall in love together, which is something difficult for Elmer who is also in love with Elvira.

 Trixie Friganza and Buster Keaton, Free & Easy

There are many reasons why I love this film. One of them is the very interesting casting. At first, you have our Buster Keaton in his first talking picture. Some people say he is not funny anymore when he talks. I can agree that he is less funny than in some of his early silent films, but for me, he remains funny and unforgettable. If the talking pictures and the public would have given him a chance, he could have continued is career with the success he had. Then, you have Anita Page playing the role of Elvira Plunkett. Anita Page was one of the big stars of the beginning of the talking. In Free & Easy, she is just lovely. Trixie Friganza who plays the part of Ma Plunkett is not a very famous actress, but she is a great surprise in this film. She is a great character actress, funny and with a strong personality. It is interesting to see Robert Montgomery in this type of film knowing that, about ten-fifteen years later he will play in some Noirs such as Rage in Heaven or Lady in the Lake (that he also directed). These are the main actors of the film. But what’s even more interesting in this casting is the short appearance of some great Hollywood personality playing themselves. You have Fred Niblo, William Haines, Lyonel Barrymore, Cecil B. DeMille, Dorothy Sebastian, Jackie Coogan, Karl Dane and many more. It’s nice too see all these personalities together in the same picture. A game you can do when you watch this film is to find out the more Hollywood stars of the 20’s 30’s you can!

Buster Keaton and Anita PageRobert Montgomery

 Trixie FriganzaFree & Easy

Of course, as I said, this was Buster Keaton first talking picture. In my opinion, he has done it right. A very memorable moment is when he sings Free & Easy, the theme song of the film. I mean, what a treat to see Buster sing and dance! And he has done it well, especially the dancing, because we know that Buster Keaton was, at first, an actor of gesture, more than an actor of voice. However, his singing voice (and also his talking voice) is quite convincing and fit perfectly with the character of Elmer Butts. I won’t ask more as I think he did a great job at this level. As I said in the beginning of this text, this film is kind of a musical comedy. Let me explain that: it is, at first, a comedy, but “the movie in the movie”, the one Elmer Butts and Ma Plunkett are starring in, is a musical. So that’s what I mean by saying that Free & Easy was kind of a musical. However, there is not a lot of songs. I think we should take the occasion to watch the Free & Easy song’s clip. That’s worth watching, believe me.

Talking pictures mean screenplay, and screenplay mean lines and dialogues. This is another aspect of the film I liked and that really makes me laugh at some points. If we are not in the silent films anymore, Buster Keaton has to make the audience laugh by talking and not only by moving. There are some quotes in this film that I really love. Some of them are said by Buster Keaton, some other not, but whoever says it, the emotion is always convincing especially with Buster Keaton. He can talk with a voice, but also with his eyes, which is something important. Here are some example of my favourite lines of the film:

1- Elmer: “Oh woe is me, the sqween has quooned.”

2- Ma Plunkett: “I never wanna see your face again, never!”

3- Elmer Butts: “Nice day..

Train Conductor: – Is it?

Elmer Butts:- No, I guess it’s not so good…”

4- Jackie Coogan: “And I want to thank Mr. Wright for having this opening, it’s such an opportun time, because I don’t have any school tomorrow.

5- William Haines: Sorry, I broke my authograph…

6- Ma: “Oh, I’m ashamed to show my face!

Elmer: – I don’t blame you….

Ma: – What’s that?!

Elmer: – Oh! I don’t blame you for being a little upset!”

And many more!

Another thing I like about Buster Keaton in this film is the great chemistry he has with Anita Page. They are just so lovely together and we wish Elvira would understand that Elmer loves her, because that’s one of her imperfections: she is not very clever. Buster Keaton and Trixie Friganza also make together a great pair of enemy. They hate each other, but we can see a sort of complicity between those two characters when they started acting together in the film. Talking about complicity, one of my favourite moments of the film is when Larry Mitchell and Elmer Butts discover they already knew each other before. They both come from Kansas and Larry lived in the same town Elmer’s aunt lived. It’s in moments like this that we can say: that’s a small world! Another funny thing about this scene, is that Buster Keaton really came from Kansas!

Buster Keaton and Robert Montgomery, Free & EasyBuster-Keaton-and-Anita-Page-in-Free-and-Easy1930

Free & Easy is the kind of movie, that, for some persons, you have to see it 2-3 times before appreciate it, but me, I loved it just after the first viewing. Buster Keaton still makes me laugh and still gives us a great performance in this film. I would like more people to see this film and understand why I love it so much. This is also one of the Buster Keaton’s characters I love the most. I mean, this Elmer is just the type of man I would like to be friend with. So, if you have nothing to do this week-end, take the occasion to watch or re-watch Free & Easy by saying to yourself that this is a great film.

Thanks to Silent-Ology for having created this event and make sure to read the other entries:

https://silentology.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/the-first-annual-buster-keaton-blogathon/

Buster Keaton and Anita Page