Coming Soon: The “…And scene!” Blogathon

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The Wonderful World of Cinema is ready for another blogathon in June: the “And…scene!” Blogathon hosted by Sister Celluloid. The event will take place from June 25 to June 28 2015. This is the occasion for us to write about one movie scene, a scene we love and always enjoy to watch. It will be our chance to write about a more specific movie moment and not about all the movie.

For the blogathon, I decided to write about the opening scene of Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not To Be. That was a tough choice, because there are many great movie scenes, but I think I’ve made a good final decision. It will also be the occasion for me to watch this wonderful film another time. Do you really think I will only watch THIS scene for the occasion? 😉

If you’d like to participate to the blogathon or have more informations about it, please click on the following link:

The “…And scene!” Blogathon

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See you this summer!

Announcement: The Classic Movie History Project Blogathon

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From June 26th to June 28th 2015, what seems like an absolutely A-mazing blogathon will be hosted by Movie Silently, Silver Screenings and Once Upon a Screen: The Classic Movie History Project. Of course, The Wonderful World of Cinema is all set for the occasion.

This blogathon is the occasion for us to dive into cinema’s history. Movie Silently will host the years 1880 to 1929, Once Upon a Screen will cover the years 1930 to 1952 and Silver Screening will take care of 1953 to 1975. Each year ranges have been divided into smaller sections. Each participating blog has to choose a section and a subject to write about for  the blogathon.

On my side, I chose the following section: 1963-1967: Mod’s the word: And then things started to swing and I will write about “1967: An Important Turning Point in Films”. 1967 is, I think, my favourite year in films. There are so much marvellous movies we can discuss about: In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Graduate, Bonnie & Clyde, Cool Hand Luke, Young Girls of Rochefort and more. What a fun time I’ll have to write about this great year!

If you wish to participate to this blogathon or have more informations, I invite you to click on the following link: The Classic Movie History Project Blogathon.

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James Stewart: A Golden Star

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Just like one of my very favourite actresses, Grace Kelly, James Stewart was born in Pennsylvania. I’m happy to have seen this garden state twice in my life, when I was on my way to Washington DC… I can’t remember exactly what was the very first James Stewart’s film I saw, but it was probably an Hitchcock’s film. Vertigo, Rear Window? Or maybe it was something completely different like It’s a Wonderful Life. Well, one thing is sure, it immediately gave me a good impression of James Stewart. Actually, the first time I SEE him was in my book, “Les Stars de Cinéma”. Just with a simple photo, I was curious to see his films. My first number one favourite actor was Marlon Brando, but, one day, I said to myself: “Naaah, it’s not Brando anymore, it’s James Stewart”. I was a little sad to put Brando in the second place (and he still is my second favourite actor, which is really good), but now I have no regrets, because, today, if someone asks me who is my favourite actor, I can proudly, with joy in my voice, tell him or her: “It’s James Stewart!” 😀 I decided to write this tribute to James Stewart because, yesterday, on May 20th 2015, we were glad to celebrate his 107’s birthday! That seems old, but Jimmy unfortunately left us in 1997 at the noble age of 89. As he was a wonderful man and a wonderful actor, we would have whished that he lived forever. Anyway, let’s not talk about sad things like this, let’s talk about Jimmy, my love for Jimmy.

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I must admit, I appreciate James Stewart very much as an actor and from what I’ve read, I know he was someone with a great personality, a kind and courageous man. However, as I’ve never read a biography, I can’t say I know him perfectly. What is his best book biography? If you have suggestions, please tell me, I’ll be so happy to discover another side of my favourite actor. If you remember my Audrey Hepburn’s text tribute that I’ve written not a long time ago, you know that I mentioned that, when I see her make her first entrance in a film, it always makes me smile. Well, that’s the same story with James Stewart. I can’t help having a big smile and saying to myself “Aww, that’s my Jimmy!” ❤ It’s also and actor with whom I would have liked to be friend. Well, I’ve met James Stewart… in a dream. Better than nothing isn’t it? Oh, and Hitchcock was in my dream as well and signed me his autograph. In every James Stewart’s films I saw, there’s always something that makes him nice in a way or another, even in Vertigo where he plays a… necrophile (well, sort of). We agree, Scottie is not very nice with Judy, but, at the beginning of the film, before the real problems start, he seems to be a nice fellow to hang with. His only problem is his acrophobia. Anyway, let’s not forget that this is a film, it’s not the real Jimmy. It’s only one of the numerous things that proves us that he was an incredible actor and that he was capable of a great versatility.

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Before I wrote this text, I calculated how many James Stewart I’ve seen so far. That’s a total of 13 films. You may wonder which one is my favourite. It is, without any doubts, It’s a Wonderful Life. You may have noticed that the logo of this blog is a picture of this film. Everything’s perfect about this movie, not to mention that it is also my 3rd favourite film of all times and also my favourite James Stewart’s performance. It’s a Wonderful Life was also James Stewart’s personal favourite (among his films). He indeed said some great things about this gem: “Such a pure movie. It wasn’t taken from a novel or a play. It was developed from one little paragraph. Simple story, no message, no violence, no mob scenes. When the movies have a story like this, they do it better than any medium there is.” (IMDB) Jimmy makes us feel good in this film. He has a great humour and is part of some wonderful moments. I love the part when he dances with Donna Reed and then they fall in the pool! Of course, there are some saddest moments and here James Stewart plays a sad and angry George Bailey just as well has he plays a happy and funny George Bailey. I can’t imagine some other actors playing this character. James Stewart was so perfect for the part and we know that he was a favourite of Frank Capra’s.

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I just talked to you about Vertigo and It’s a Wonderful Life. Well, because of those two films, I think that Jimmy was very talented to express the feeling of fear. And that’s kind of fascinating. That means he’s an actor who can share strong feelings only with his eyes or facial expressions. In Vertigo, I’m referring to the moment when he wakes up from his bad dream. For It’s a Wonderful Life, I’m referring to the scene where he is on the bridge and looks at the water… Jimmy really could express any emotions and was always convincing. I can’t talk to you about all the James Stewart’s films I’ve seen, but here is a quick overview of his performances for each one of the 11 other films, the ones I haven’t talked about yet:

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In Rear Window, Jimmy has nothing to do except spy his neighbourhood.  He then discovers something terrible about one of them. At the begging, he plays someone with a great sense of humour. He seems not to care much about his girlfriend, but when she’s in danger, that’s when Jimmy will perfectly express the feeling of anxiety.

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In Harvey, Jimmy couldn’t be more adorable. He has an imaginary friend, a big Rabbit called Harvey. His family thing he’s crazy, but he’s the one who seems to enjoy life the most.

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In The Spirit of Saint-Louis, some may think he was not the perfect Charles Lindberg, but I say I was happy to see another picture with him. His best acting talent in this film belongs to the scenes where he is alone in his plane with the only company of a little fly. He is quite funny in some of the flashback scenes.

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In The Man Who Knew Too Much, James learns a terrible secret and then has to save his son with his wife. He plays a good father who will do anything to save his family. He plays an ordinary man who will live extraordinary adventures.

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In Mr Smith Goes To Washington, Jimmy is a model for the youth. He plays a strong young man who proves us that, with perseverance, we can always reach our objective. One of my favourite moments in this film is when he visits Washington DC. He is so fascinated and looks like a little boy. 🙂

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In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, James Stewart is a judge who wants to protect a city. He is a wise man and a will learn to a beautiful girl how to write and read. When we watch this film, we would like to go in the screen to protect him from the mean Liberty Valence.

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In The Philadelphia Story, Jimmy is a journalist who makes a wonderful team with Ruth Hussey who plays a photographer. He won the Oscar and was hilarious, especially in the scenes where he is drunk.

Actresses Shirley Jones, Ann Rutherford and Carroll Baker will join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a special centennial tribute to Academy Award¨-winning actor James Stewart on Thursday, June 12, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  The celebration will feature film clips and onstage conversations with StewartsÕ friends and colleagues as well as daughters Kelly Stewart Harcourt and Judy Stewart Merrill.  Pictured here: James Stewart at the 1940 (13th) Academy Awards banquet.

In How the West Was Won. Jimmy is a trapper. I can’t say it was the perfect role for him, but it remains a nice performance to watch.

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In The Shop Around the Corner, Jimmy loves a girl and doesn’t really appreciate her at the same time. Well, he thinks those two feelings belong to two different girls, but he won’t make long to discover that it is the same girl and will try to fix things.

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In Destry Rides Again, Jimmy is welcomed in a town by some people who are not very kind to him because he is not the person they were expecting. One more time, he proves us that he is a real hero. Just like in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, he believes that gunfights are not the perfect solution to solve a problem. Peace Jimmy.

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Finally, in Rope, James Stewart is invited to a morbid dinner where he discovers with horror that his two students had done something unforgivable. He plays there a fascinating character with whom we would like to discuss for hours.

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James Stewart is certainly one of the most iconic Hollywood stars. He will always be remembered and known as a true legend. He’s my favourite, but he is the favourite of many persons. Is it possible not to like James Stewart?

Long life to your memory Jimmy!

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My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon: Bringing Up Baby

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Today is the National Classic Movie Day. For the occasion, I’m participating to the My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon, hosted by Classic Film and TV Café. As I have already written and article about my favourite film, Some Like it Hot, I decided to write about my second favourite one: Bringing Up Baby. Just like Some Like it Hot, I love this film and never get tired to watch it. For a long time, I couldn’t say which one was my favourite between the two, but Some Like it Hot won the battle. Oh, and just to mention that, before I saw those two films, Forrest Gump was my favourite (and it’s still one of my very favourite). Anyway, it will be a great pleasure for me to write about Brining Up Baby. This movie is so fun to watch, so I guess it will be fun to write about it. I also think it’s the perfect movie to review, because, last Tuesday, it was Katharine Hepburn’s birthday. Indeed, this movie starred Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in one of their funniest performances, also May Robson, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, Fritz Feld and George Irving. In other words, two big Hollywood stars and a delicious bunch of incredible character actors. The movie was directed by Howard Hawks in 1938 and produced by RKO Pictures.

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I must admit, even if I have seen this movie a hundred times, I always have difficulties to resume it, because so many things happen and I never know where to start and where to stop. So I’ll try to do a short and sweet resumé without telling any spoilers for those who may have not seen the movie. Anyway, for those who know my writing style, you know that I what I like is explaining why I love the movie and not just telling the whole story. David Huxley (Cary Grant), a zoologist, has been working during four years to “build” a brontosaurus skeleton. Only one bone is missing: the  intercostal clavicle. Luckily, this one is about to arrive by post and David is also about to marry his fiancé and assistant: Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker). David also needs a million dollars for the museum, an endowment from the rich Mrs. Carleton Random. So, David has to meet her lawyer, Mr. Peabody (George Irving), to get in his favourite and convince him that he needs the money for the museum and to complete his brontosaurus project. However, every time he wants to meet him, he is always disturbed by a young  heiress named Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn). He doesn’t like her very much as she’s always making a fool of himself. However, Susan likes him and she’s not reading to let him go. Later, he’ll learn that she is a good friend of Mrs. Peabody and that she has a leopard named Baby. Despite his opposition, David will find himself trapped in Connecticut at Susan’s aunt Elizabeth place with Susan, Elizabeth (May Robson), Baby, Elizabeth’s stupid dog George, Major Applegate (Charles Ruggles) and his  intercostal clavicle . That’s where the real troubles will start.

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That really surprised me when I learnt that Bringing Up Baby has not been a box office success. Well, this sometime happened to some movies that are today known as some of the best classics, movie that everybody should see. Another one I can think about is The Night of the Hunter. Of course, that’s a  completely different style. Bringing Up Baby is now known as one of the best movies of the Screwball comedy genre. Of course, it has its imperfections, but there are not enough to make it a bad movie. Bringing Up Baby is also number 88 in  AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time’s top list and number 14 in AFI’ 100 Funniest American Movies of All Times. Well, that’s quite good. Bringing Up Baby is also one of these movies that I’ve waited too long before watching it and, when I saw it and immediately fell in love with it, regretted having waited such a long time before seeing it.

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Hepburn on the set of Bringing Up Baby

You may now know that comedy is one of my favourite movie genre, especially because my two most favourite movies of all times are comedies and my last three articles on this blog were about comedies. Well, that’s simple, laughing is one of the things I enjoy the most. It’s such a great feeling and a good way to forget your problems and your miserable life. Don’t worry, I don’t have a miserable life, but if YOU do have one, just watch Bringing Up Baby. To me, Some Like it Hot, Brining Up Baby and Little Miss Sunshine are the three funniest comedy of all times. My mother could testify. Of course, this is just an opinion. Because of that, Bringing Up baby is such a captivating film. Once you’ve started watching it, you can’t stop. You want to know what will happen and want to see more hilarious gags. One more time, my mother could testify on that too, even if she thinks that a certain part of the film is a little long and repetitive. She’s kind of right. As I said sooner, this movie is not perfect, but I can’t help it if it’s one of my favourites. ❤

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What makes this film so funny is of course its actors. I have to mention first that this was Katharine Hepburn’s first comedy. The actress was trained by Howard Hawks and some veteran vaudevillians hired by the movie director. It was not Cary Grant’s first comedy (we can think of The Awful Truth or Topper), but it was his first comedy co-starring Katharine Hepburn and also his second film with this actress. The first one was Sylvia Scarlett. Well, they both did an amazing job and gave an excellent performance. Susan Vance is one of my favourite movie characters portrayed by Katharine Hepburn. She’s very clumsy, but she’s also intelligent and has will. I also love Cary Grant’s character, Davi d Huxley, because he pretends to be a serious man, but we discover that he can be perfectly ridiculous and that’s how we love him. This film was also the chance for me to see another side of Cary Grant, his comic side of course, because I think the movies I’ve seen with him before this one were the Hitchcock’s ones, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story. Those two are comedies, but the funniest Cary Grant is certainly the one in Brining Up Baby. I finally have to mention the incredible character actors. This movie wouldn’t have been the same without them: May Robson, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, Fritz Feld and George Ivirng. The characters they are playing in this film are everything but ordinary. They each have their own personality and together they create a marvellous fresco.

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Of course, the screenplay is also part of the comic side of this film. It’s not a perfect screenplay. There are some imperfections, some scenes are two longs, some events are too sudden, but it was certainly written in the perfect mood of being funny, entertaining and crazy (in a good way). After all, it’s a Screwball comedy and the writers where perfectly faithful to this movie genre. However, the real force of this screenplay are the unforgettable dialogues. There are so many great lines to quote, but here are some of my favourites:

1- David Huxley [to Susan]: When a man is wrestling a leopard in the middle of a pond, he’s in no position to run!

2- Susan Vance: A lady killer? Why he’s a regular Don Swan. Loves the ladies, don’t ya, honey? He bops them over, one, two, three – boom – just like that.

[Pretends to open a cork and toss it away]

Susan Vance: He’s a wolf.

David Huxley:

[Claps his head] Oh, so now I’m a wolf!

3- [In jail] Susan Vance:  Anyway, David, when they find out who we are they’ll let us out.

David Huxley: When they find out who *you* are they’ll pad the cell.

4- Susan Vance [Limping after losing a heel from one shoe]:  I was born on the side of a hill.

5- [repeated line] David Huxley : I’ll be with you in a minute, Mr. Peabody!

7- [talking about David] Elizabeth : Now see here, if you’re planning to marry him on my money you are very much mistaken. I don’t want another lunatic in the family I have lunatics enough all ready. When are you going to marry him? What’s his name?

Susan Vance: It’s uh Bone

Elizabeth: Bones ?

Susan Vance : One Bone

Elizabeth: Well one bone or two bones it’s a ridiculous name.

8- Susan Vance : [to David] You know why you’re following me? You’re a fixation.

9- Elizabeth : What are you doing?

David Huxley: [exasperated and wearing Susan’s negligee] I’m sitting in the middle of 42nd Street waiting for a bus!

10- David Huxley: First you drop an olive, and then I sit on my hat. It all fits perfectly.

Well, there are many. This is certainly a screenplay I would love to read. tumblr_lpo8lcCqVY1qgxbs4o2_500tumblr_lj7znyPbXr1qgxbs4o1_r1_500 tumblr_n4yfaduRBA1tt0ypwo1_400tumblr_mkebcm5T8Y1qj7jxpo1_500 Brining Up Baby is known for having no music, only in the opening and ending credits. However, it has its “theme song”: I can’t Give you Anything But Love. Of course, the song wasn’t composed for the movie. This song was written in 1928 and used 10 years later in the movie. This is Baby’s favourite song and it is often sing by Susan and David when they try to calm down Baby. So that’s interesting because it’s really part of the story. I found this very nice video tribute to Bringing Up Baby with the song singing by Doris Day.

And that’s one of my favourite scenes of the film, when David meets Baby:

Well, that was a real pleasure to write about one of my favourite movies and to watch it again for the occasion. Of course, make sure to read the other entries of the blogathon. Click on the following link to discover other blogger’s favourite films! : My Favourite Classic Movie Blogathon And, of course, happy National Classic Movie Day to all! 🙂

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