The Third Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon Is Back in November!

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Hello hello!

I must admit since I will already host the Joan Fontaine Centenary Blogathon in October, I hesitated on hosting the Grace Kelly blogathon this year but, since I love her too much, I couldn’t resist.

Plus, we have good reasons to honour Grace Kelly this year: 2017 marks the 35 “anniversary” of her tragic death and 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of Montreal’s Expo 67 that Grace Kelly attended as a representant of Monaco.

The blogathon will start on November 10 and will end on November 12, 2017.

If you are new to this blogathon or to blogathons in general, there are a few steps/rules to follow:

1- Choose a topic related to Grace Kelly. Since she only made 11 films, I will allow duplicates, but try not to all write about Rear Window! And don’t forget that Grace Kelly wasn’t only an actress. She was also a princess, a fashion icon, and a woman first. So, the topics are much more numerous than you might think! You can submit your topic in the comment section or via email at virginie.pronovost@gmail.com

2- Can I participate if I don’t have a blog? Sure. You just have to send me your text via email and I will publish it on my blog and credit you.

3- If you have one, please give me your Twitter handle.

4- Once your subject has been confirmed, decorate your blog with one of these banners to help me promote the blogathon. As always, I had a lot of fun creating those.

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5- All posts must be new material.

6- To give a chance to everybody, I will allow a maximum of two entries/blog.

7- The blogathon will start on November 10 and end on November 12, 2017, on Grace Kelly’s birthday. On the first day, I will publish a new post where you will be able to submit your entry.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

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The roster:

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest Rear Window (1954)

A Shroud of Thoughts Dial M for Murder (1954)

Box Office Poison The Country Girl (1954)

Maddy Loves Her Classic FilmsTo Catch a Thief (1955)

Anybody Got a Match? High Society (1956)

 

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I hope many of you will be able to participate! If you can’t, you are still always welcome to help me spread the word about this event. 😉

See you!

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My Favourite Spanish Film: También la lluvia (Even the Rain)

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When Aurora from Once Upon a Screen announced that she would be back hosting her Hispanic Heritage Blogathon, I couldn’t resist writing about my favourite Spanish movie: También la lluvia, directed by Icíar Bollaín and released in 2010. Since I participated to the last edition of the blogathon with my entry on Sarita Montiel in Vera Cruz, I became much more familiar with the Spanish cinema since, last year, I attended a class on the subject at university. I can positively say that it is now one of my favourite national cinemas. I even went to Spain last May. Beautiful country!

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When one thinks about Spanish cinema, the name we are all most familiar with is Pedro Almodóvar. As great as he is, there is, however, much more to explore in the Spanish cinema world. Before I watched También la lluvia for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect as I had never heard of this movie before. It was pretty much a “wait and see” situation. And well, as I’ve said before, it became my favourite Spanish film.

The film is a Spanish production but takes place in Bolivia. A film crew from Spain has come to the city of Cochabamba to shoot a movie about Christopher Columbus. The director, Christopher (Gael García Bernal),  and the executive producer, Costa (Luis Tosar), are accompanied by Maria (Cassandra Ciangherotti), who is making a documentary about the film. The city where they decided to shoot is struggling with a major problem: the government prevents the population to have a free access to water and ask them to pay money they don’t have in order to have an access to this vital resource. Inevitably, manifestations against the government start and become more and more violent. The city soon becomes a dangerous place for the film crew to stay and the shooting becomes more and more difficult, especially since one of the actors, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) is one of the main leaders of these manifestations.

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One of the main reasons why this film is my favourite Spanish one is because it made me discover Gael García Bernal whom, I think, is a truly gifted actor. People might be more familiar with the Mexican actor for his roles in Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too) or Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries), but También la lluvia is one not to miss. And I have an interesting anecdote to tell you about this actor: One of my mother’s good friends is a movie maker from Venezuela and she knows Gael quite well because she met him in some Cuban film festival a few times, him and Diego Luna (his co-star in Y Tu Mamá También). And, apparently, she even danced with him! :O :O But she told me that, if she ever goes back to the festival, that I should come with her so she could introduce me to him (hoping he’s there). Wouldn’t that be amazing?! 😀

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It’s interesting how the film reunites both Spanish actors from Spain and from South America. But the film presents many interesting contrasts and these are not only reflected in the casting, but also in the story itself. We face two problematic situations: on a side a movie crew with a restricted budget who hopes to finish a movie, and, on the other side, a population who struggles for their right of access to water. If, for some of the characters, to finish the film is more important than their own safety due to the violence in the city or more important than the problem itself causing this violence, the film, however, shows us that one can change for the better when a situation becomes critical.

With this problem concerning water, the film shows us that it’s sometimes the most anodyne things that can create riots. A Canadian like me couldn’t ever think of a restricted access to water since Canada is the country with the country with the biggest resources of pure water in the world, but, in this little city of Bolivia, the cost of water makes us understand that this natural resource is as precious as a diamond, even more. It is vital and essential. This aspect of the film was, by the way, based on real-life events.

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When I first saw the film, there’s a shot toward the beginning during the opening credits that made me realized that it would be a great film. The introduction (the casting scene, before the opening titles) told me that it would be interesting narratively, but this precise shot told me that it would also be the case visually. We see a helicopter carrying a big cross that will be used for the Christopher Columbus film. The helicopter flies over magnificent mountainous landscapes. It is simply breathtaking. Because of the cross, this scene sort of makes me think of the one in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita where a helicopter carries a statue of Jesus. Surely, Icíar Bollaín was inspired… Or not. But I wouldn’t be surprised she was.

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In this scene, we also hear the music score by Alberto Iglesias. This is another of my favourite aspects of the film. It’s a majestic score, very cinematographic and it matches the film perfectly, both for its narrative and visual aspects. Alberto Iglesias also worked with Pedro Almodóvar.

Except for the fact that it is generally a great film and that it won Awards, one of the best reasons to watch También la lluvia is that it was directed by a woman. We know that movies directed by women are much less numerous than the ones directed by men, so, when one can seize the occasion, it is not to be missed. The film was initially supposed to be directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Birdman, The Revenant), but Icíar Bollaín directed instead and I’m glad of it. I wonder how different it would have been if Inarritu would have directed it. I saw another film directed by Bollaín which is called Flores de otro mundo (Flowers from Another World). It is not as good as También la lluvia, but it’s an appreciable film and I would also recommend it if you want to see more Spanish movies.

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I want to thank Auror, once again, for hosting this blogathon! It’s always a pleasure to participate. 🙂

Don’t forget to check the other entries!

Hollywood’s Hispanic Heritage Blogathon

I’ll leave you with this top 10 of my favourite Spanish speaking movies.

Enjoy!

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Comedy Time: Libeled Lady (1936)

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14 years before he became the Father of the Bride, Spencer Tracy was the groom himself or, should I say, the “future” groom and the particular movie I’m thinking about is Libeled Lady (Jack Conway, 1936). This gifted actor hadn’t made any movies with Katharine Hepburn, yet, but that was about to come soon in 1942 with Woman of the Year which is, to this day, my favourite movie starring this legendary couple. No, in 1936, both Spencer and Katharine (we can call them by their first name only, can’t we? After all, I’m sure I am not the only one who feels that they are like old friends) were both leading a respectable career on their respective side. Respectable from the beginning until the end.

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I’m telling you all this because my friend Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood had the bright idea to host a Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn Blogathon. It’s Halloween soon. So if you need to find an idea for an iconic couple costume, maybe a Tracy-Hepburn match could be an idea? 😉 Anyway, with her blogathon, Crystal doesn’t only celebrate the films they made together, but also the ones they made separately. After all, they all deserve to be reviewed. And that’s why I introduced this article with a few words on Libeled Lady. In this situation, it is the blond Jean Harlow who is Spencer Tracy’s screen partner and they are joined by Myrna Loy and William Powell, whom, we know, always had an amazing on-screen chemistry. Even if Katharine wasn’t in the portrait in this 1936’s film, we can try to understand why she was interested in working with “the best movie actor there was” as she called him. After all, the man had many admirers in the movie business and Katharine Hepburn wasn’t the only one. Among them, we can also include Marlon Brando, Michael Caine, Joan Crawford and more.

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If you like to laugh and love comedies like me, then 1936 is a year for you. In the silent department, we had the delightful Chaplin’s Modern Timesbut some talking pictures such as My Man Godfrey, Wife vs. Secretary, Cain & Mabel, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and, of course, Libeled Lady made us laugh too. After all, the 30s are the Golden Age of the screwball comedy (which happens to be my favourite movie genre).   Jack Conway’s film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar (but lost to The Great Ziegfield) which is a proof that, sometimes, the Academy can be interested in comedies and not only in heavy dramas or epic historical pictures.

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Libeled Lady is an opposition between high society and the world of journalism; those journalists who love gossip, but, sometimes, write stuff before thinking and then, have to face the consequences. Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) is the managing editor of the New-York Evening Star newspaper. His wedding day has finally arrived, but he soon has to call his fiancee Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) and postpone it because his business is in trouble: his journalists have falsely accused the rich Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy) of being a homewrecker. She and her father are suing the newspaper for the modest sum of 5 million dollars… Ouch! Warren decides to hire writer Bill Chandler (William Powell), who used to work for the Star before being fired by Warren himself, to take care of the problem. They develop one of those plans: Bill will get married and then manage to go to London and come back on the same boat as the Allenbury (who happen to be in the British city). His plan is to have a moment alone with Connie so she can be accused “for real” of being a homewrecker and, therefore, drop the case. Warren volunteers his own fiancee to become Bill’s wife, to what she objects firmly, but finally accepts in order to help. Bill does meet Connie on the boat and they do make acquaintance. However, things don’t go as expected.

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During the shooting of Libeled Lady, the four actors became friends. Jean Harlow and William Powell were even engaged. Unfortunately, Jean died prematurely at the age of 26, in 1937, before they had time to get married. Libeled Lady was one of her last films. It is rumoured that Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy developed an affair during the shooting, but, of course, it is not a couple that would become as memorable as the Tracy-Hepburn one. 😉

If I’m not mistaken, Libeled Lady is the “oldest” Spencer Tracy’s film I saw. I immediately loved it the first time I saw it. I think it’s a movie that I should watch with my mother one of these days because I suspect it is the kind of film she would like. Plus, she’s already a bit familiar with Spencer Tracy, Woman of the Year being one of our typical mother-daughter films. So, while analysing his acting in this film, I realized that what makes Spencer Tracy a great actor is the fact that he makes acting look like something very easy to do. Nothing seems to be forced. He is a natural. We have the tendency to say that actors and actresses in old films were a bit theatrical (especially in silent films as they had to use their whole body to express an idea), but I wouldn’t include Tracy in this category. His acting was simple but effective. There was something very modern about it and I feel he could have defied time and be comfortable making modern 21st-century movies. We can easily call him a timeless actor.

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If Spencer Tracy had a twin, an easy way to recognize him would be with that typical felt hat he often wears on the side of his head. Like this:

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That is sooo him. And in, Libeled Lady, he doesn’t make an exception to this style. That’s how we like him. It is almost like Chaplin and his bowler hat or Buster Keaton and his boater.

If Katharine Hepburn wasn’t Spencer’s love interest in this film, he still forms an interesting couple with Jean Harlow. Of course, the chemistry isn’t as strong as the one he had with Kate, but it remains an interesting pair. I’ve noticed that Spencer Tracy often plays the role of a guy who gets opposed to his lady (Woman of the Year and Adam’s Rib would be good examples), but whom, in the end, truly loves her. Oh yes, we can say that Warren Haggerty doesn’t treat his wife super properly, sort spoiling what is supposed to be the happiest day of her life (her wedding) and involving her in his business problems. We, the public, can simply have compassion for Glady and admire her “patience”. Well, she doesn’t really “behave” patiently, but, in the end, she always accepts to make compromises.

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The only problem with this Tracy-Harlow couple is the fact that they could be a bit overshadowed by Myrna Loy and William Powell. After all, those two formed one of the most appreciated on-screen couples of the 30s especially thanks to The Thin Man. Before I saw this film, I had heard that their chemistry in it was incredible, but I couldn’t believe it could be THAT incredible, but it was. And it still is in Libeled Lady. So, of course, they steal a bit the show… as a couple. If we look at them as separate individuals, they each mark their place brilliantly.

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I love Libeled Lady, not only for its incomparable casting, but also for its comedic side. This one is, of course, embodied by the actors (William Powell is the funniest one in my opinion), but also by a screenplay truffled with hilarious quotes. William Powell saying “C’est un cheval!” (“It is a horse” in French) is perhaps my favourite thing about this film. It’s nothing very extraordinary to say, but I just love his voice tone when he says it. And of course, we have to be put in context:

Connie [worried because Bill doesn’t want to go to her bazar]: Bill, what is it?

Bill [looking at the horse]: What is it? It is a horse. C’est un cheval!

And here are a few of my other favourite quotes:

1- Warren Haggerty: Would I ask you to do this thing for me if I didn’t consider you practically my wife?

Gladys: Would you ask your wife to hook up with that ape?

Bill Chandler: The ape objects.

 

2- Warren Haggerty [about Gladys]: She may be his wife, but she’s engaged to me

3- Gladys: The things I do for that newspaper!

4- Gladys [to the maid] : Today is my wedding day!

Maid: What, again Mrs. Gladys?

5- Warren Haggerty: [introducing Gladys] Mr. Bane, my future wife.

Mr. Bane: Nonsense! I’ll be in my office. Get rid of this woman!

Poor Gladys!

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Libeled Lady can also be praised for its beautiful on-location shooting in the californian wilderness where Bill goes fishing with Connie and her father. This is also where you’ll see one of the most hilarious scenes of the film. They invited Bill to go fishing because he pretends he knows everything about this sport, but really, he doesn’t.

And how dreamy is that little cabin in the middle of the lake where we witness a short, but beautiful scene between Myrna Loy and William Powell.

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If you’re in for a fun time and you haven’t seen Libeled Lady yet, you should definitely put it on your to-see list. After all, Katharine Hepburn did say of it that it was the funniest thing she ever saw. 😉 (Wikipedia)

I want to thank Crystal for hosting this blogathon! Please click on the following link to read the other entries:

The Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn Blogathon

You might have noticed that I hadn’t published any review for a long time. It was good to be back!

See you!

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