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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Waitin' on a Sunny Day in 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, I thought it would be fun to look back on Waitin' on a Sunny Day's 2011. Or, perhaps more fittingly, my 2011. I watched a grand total of 369 films this year, watched 43 seasons of tv series (it seems a lot, but most of them where British shows which means the seasons are a lot shorter ;D), made some amazing friends through classic film, met one of my best classic film buddies in real life, and had a ridiculous amount of fun posting on here about all things classic! So, without further ado, I give you my 2011 in review!

My Favourite New-To-Me Films of 2011

January: Don't Bother to Knock (1952) & Mad About Men (1954)
February: The Misfits (1961) & Stand By Me (1986)
March: I Remember Mama (1948) & Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
April: Splendor in the Grass (1961) & The King's Speech (2011) 
May: Niagara (1953) & The Virgin Suicides (1999).
June: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) & Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
July: The Great Dictator (1940) & Johnny Belinda (1948)
August: Possessed (1947) & The Godfather (1972)
September: These Three (1936)
October: Walk the Line (2005)
November: The Princess Comes Across (1936) & A Woman of Distinction (1950)
December: The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) & The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)

My Favourite TV Series of 2011

I watched so many incredible TV series this year including Matador (1978-1982), The Golden Girls (1985-1992), and House (2004-), but when it came down to it, however much I love those three shows, none of them could surpass the emotional roller coaster that is Band of Brothers. Do yourself a favour and watch it!

I could go on forever listing favourites, but these are the three most important categories pertaining to this blog so I'll stop there. I honestly can't believe the year is almost over; it only seems like yesterday that I was posting my 2011 film-related New Year's resolutions on here (make sure you check back in a day or two to see how many of those I kept ;D). I can't think of anything profound to say so I'm just going to wish you all a very wonderful New Year and I'll see you at the other side!

(check out this lovely New Year's Eve video!)

Friday, 30 December 2011

New Year's Movie Meme

The Girl with the White Parasol created a wonderful New Year's movie meme and I can never pass something like this up so here are my answers! 

1. What is your all-time favourite Grace Kelly costume?

I talked about my favourite Grace Kelly dress in my Fashion in Film Blogathon post.

2. What classic film would you nominate for a remake?

As a general rule, I'm not fond of remakes. Unless the film is based on a classic book or play (such as Pride and Prejudice. I will not, however, endorse a remake of something like The Thin Man.) or unless the original film was a load of rubbish, then I really don't think there is any need for remakes. That being said, I would probably go and see a remake of Jamaica Inn. I'm really not a fan of the Hitch film (one of his only films I actively dislike) and I think it could make quite a great film if remade by the right person.

3. Name you favourite femme fatale.

Although I absolutely detest her blonde wig and think the overall film is a bit overrated, Phyllis Dietrichson (Double Indemnity, 1944) is the ultimate femme fatale in my books. I'm also a big fan of  Virginia Mayo in White Heat (1949) and Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947).

4. Name the best move with "heaven" in it's title.

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

5. Describe the worst performance by a child actor that you've ever seen.

Usually the ones that are really bad I block from my memory but, after racking my brains for far too long I came up with:

Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds (2005). Probably not the worst performance by a child actor, but definitely the most annoying. I have an irrational love of the film and used to watch it all the time but it really put me off Dakota. Seriously, just stop screaming, girl!

6. Who gets your vote for most tragic movie monster?

Probably Frankenstein. I don't watch a huge amount of "monster" films though so it's not the most educated of choices.

7. What is the one Western that you would recommend to anybody?

Either Giant or The Big Country.

8. Who is your ideal movie-viewing partner?

One of my classic film buddies (one of whom is visiting for 5 days in January!). 

9. Has a film ever made you want to change your life? If so, what was the film?

As a lot of the people answering this question have said, films in general have changed my life but there isn't one particular film that has made me want to completely change my life. Having said that Anne of Green Gables and The Sound of Music are probably the two films that come closest to making me change things about myself. AOGG (both the books and the film) made me embrace my rather vivid and wild imagination and, perhaps most importantly, made me realise that being "different" (aka, being overly passionate about things and seeing many things in life in a different light to others) isn't a bad thing but something to cherish. "I Have Confidence" because of TSOM. I'm not even joking. When the dog bites (he never does though), when the bee stings (it was a wasp), when I'm feeling sad, stupid, lonely, or inferior to everyone else in the world, I simply remember my favourite things and The Sound of Music, and then I don't feel so bad because Maria von Trapp was a HBIC and I am too! (Please just forget I ever wrote that, k? ;D)

10. Think of one performer that you truly love. Now think of one scene/movie/performance of theirs that is too uncomfortable for you to watch?

You all know how I feel about Deborah Kerr. And, as such, some of you will know how I feel about a particular atrocity that she appeared in...

*whispers* The Gypsy Moths (1969)

11. On the flip side, think of one really good scene/performance/movie from a performer that you truly loathe.

I don't loathe any performer but I do dislike Grace Kelly (something that seems to get stronger with every passing year). However, the scene in High Society (1956) where Tracy Lord (Grace) meets Celeste Holm and Frank Sinatra is such a brilliant scene and I think Grace was really wonderful in it. 

"Oh, English history has always fascinated me. Cromwell, and Robin Hood and... JACK THE RIPPER! Where did he teach?"

12. And finally, since it will be New Year's soon, do you have any movie or blogging-related resolutions for 2012?
I'll be making a separate post for my film related New Year's resolutions like I did last January. :)

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.

What I'm trying to say is...

Merry Christmas!

I had planned on writing an awesome Christmas post but you're going to be stuck with this rubbish one because time is running out and I need to eat and get ready for the Vigil Mass which is at 6:30 (a ridiculous time if you ask me. We usually go to Midnight Mass but my Mum is feeling rather tired and didn't feel like traipsing around in the freezing cold dead of night.). I hope each and everyone of you has the most wonderful Christmas imaginable! Before I go, I'll leave you one of the most magical Christmas scenes from any films. We all know it  but it never gets old. Enjoy!

Speak to you soon!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sophie's 20 Favourite Classic Actresses (Updated)

It's been almost 18 months since I posted my first and last list on my Top 15 Favourite actresses and since then I have discovered many new and wonderful actresses who have slyly wormed their way into my affections. Some of them I vaguely knew of before and had maybe seen a couple of their films and others were completely knew to me. You'll notice that next to all to all of the actresses names (except the first two who haven't changed) there is either a (-x), (+x), or (new!) which I suppose is pretty self-explanatory. The +/- numbers indicate how far up or down the particular actress has moved in my "top favourites" list and the (new!) indicates that they weren't on the list before. Well, I think that's everything! Enjoy!

Favourite film(s): From Here To Eternity, The King and I, Tea and Sympathy
The End of the Affair, & The Sundowners.

Favourite film(s): Random Harvest, Mrs. Miniver, Julia Misbehaves, & Blossoms in the Dust.

#3 Helle Virkner (new!)

Favourite film(s): Kispus & Matador (tv series).

#4 Barbara Stanwyck (-1)

Favourite film(s): Ball of Fire, Christmas in Connecticut, No Man of Her Own, Baby Face
& The Lady Eve.

#5 Eleanor Parker (+1)

Favourite film(s): The Sound of Music, Home From the Hill, The Voice of the Turtle
Detective Story, & Three Secrets.

#6 Rosalind Russell (-2)

Favourite film(s): Auntie Mame, The Trouble With Angels, & A Woman of Distinction.

#7 Irene Dunne (new!)

Favourite film(s): I Remember MamaMy Favourite Wife, & The Awful Truth.

#8 Carole Lombard (new!)

Favourite film(s): My Man Godfrey Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

#9 Ava Gardner (+4)

Favourite film(s): On the Beach, & The Night of the Iguana.

#10 Joan Crawford (new!)

Favourite film(s): Mildred Pierce, Possessed.

#11 Miriam Hopkins (new!)

Favourite film(s): These Three

#12 Glynis Johns (new!)

Favourite film(s): Mary Poppins, Mad About Men, & Encore: Gigolo and Gigolette.

#13 Audrey Hepburn (-6)

Favourite film(s): How To Steal a Million Breakfast at Tiffany's.

#14 Patricia Neal (new!)

Favourite film(s): Hud.

#15 Marlene Dietrich (new!)

Favourite film(s): The Lady is Willing, A Foreign Affair, Dishonored, & Morocco.

#16 Jean Simmons (-8)

Favourite film(s): The Big Country The Grass is Greener.

#17 Lucille Ball (new!)

Favourite film(s): Yours, Mine and OursStage DoorThe Long Long Trailer, & I Love Lucy (tv series).

#18 Myrna Loy (new!)

Favourite film(s): The Thin Man Series The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.

#19 Arlene Francis (new!)

Favourite film(s): The Thrill of it All.

#20 Suzanne Pleshette (new!)

Favourite film(s): The Ugly Dachshund (I can hear you tittering from here so zip it!) and The Birds

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)

The director: Preston Sturges
The stars: Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, Diana Lynn

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is the story of a young American girl named Trudy Kockenloker (Betty Hutton) who goes to a crazy party the night before the troops stationed in the area are shipped overseas and  the next day finds herself married... and pregnant with absolutely no memory of where she got married and, most importantly, whom she got married to. 

How Sturges ever managed to get that story past the Hays Office, I have absolutely no idea. It is one of the most flippantly risqué films of the 1940s and I absolutely love it. I can only imagine that the Office must have been having a day off. 

As I'm sure you can tell, the plot is utterly ridiculous but, nevertheless, every inch of the film is filled with comedy - right down to Trudy's family surname, Kockenloker- and, in true Sturges style, it is absolutely wonderful. I'd never seen a Betty Hutton films before and I have to say I was extremely impressed with her performance. It was over the top without being too much. Eddie Bracken gave a great performance as usual, but I think my favourite performance was that of Diana Lynn's. She plays Emily Kockenloker, Trudy's worldly-wise 14 year old sister. I'm not one for laughing out loud when watching something but Emily has some of the most hysterical scenes and one-liners that I've ever heard and I almost split my sides laughing at some points. 

One of my favourite scenes with Diana Lynn (starts at 1:34)

In summary, if you're in the mood for a raucous, risqué screwball comedy with stellar performances and some rather sweet, tender moments, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is for you. And beware, it might possibly become your favourite Sturges film like it has done with me!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

It's Christmastime! A Gift Guide For Classic Film Lovers.

I've seen a few of gift guides popping up on various blogs and decided that I'd jump on the bandwagon and give it a go. Whether you're buying for someone who is already a huge classics fan or whether you're trying lure someone into the world of classic film, this list is for you!  

I've been eyeing this up ever since it was first published last year. And, although I've not actually seen it in the flesh, I have seen many of the photos people have scanned from it and can vouch for their extreme wonderfulness. The photos are absolutely breathtaking and I guarantee you that the classic film fan in your life will absolutely love this!

Contains: Manhattan Melodrama (1934), Evelyn Prentice (1934), Double Wedding (1937), I Love You Again (1940), Love Crazy (1941).

You can't beat a bit of Loy and Powell and this box set is chock-a-bloc with five of their always wonderful films.

A cheaper alternative: The Thin Man Complete Collection

3. Forbidden Hollywood Collection (Vol.1, Vol.2, & Vol.3)
Vol.1: Baby Face (1933), Red Headed Woman (1932), Waterloo Bridge (1931).
Vol.2: The Divorcee (1930), A Free Soul (1931), Three on a Match (1932), Female (1933), Night Nurse (1931).
Vol.3: Other Men's Women (1931), The Purchase Price (1932), Frisco Jenny (1932), Midnight Mary (1933), Heroes For Sale (1933), Wild Boys of the Road (1933).

You don't get much better that a box set full of Pre-Codes. Oh, but wait, what about THREE box sets full of pre codes? Now you're talking. Someday these beautiful babies will be mine. MINE. 

I think everyone has seen parts of That's Entertainment! on tv around Christmas every year but this four disc set is just fabulous and I know I would love to find it sitting under my tree. Apparently, although Amazon says that the four disc set is Region 1, in actuality it is region free so I would definitely shell out the extra money for this superior (or so I'm told) set as opposed to the Region 2 three disc set.

I personally don't own a blu ray player yet but for anyone who does, this is a must. Can you imagine how much more depressing and heartbreaking this film must be in HD? I feel tears welling up just thinking about it.

Does this really need to be explained? I thought not. 

Contains: Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), The Trouble With Harry (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Vertigo (1958), Pyscho (1960), The Birds (1963), Torn Curtain (1966), Topaz (1969), Frenzy (1972), Family Plot (1976).

I gave this to my brother for Christmas last year to try and get him into classics. I'm not sure it worked but it's still a really brilliant box set. 

When I eventually buy my first Criterion DVD, I just know this will be one of my top choices. I saw The Red Shoes for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it was more magnificent than I could have imagined. And come on, just look at the DVD cover! Who wouldn't want to have that in a place of prominence in their house? 

A cheaper alternative: The Red Shoes - Restored (Blu Ray)

9. Billy Wilder Collection Vol.1&Vol.2

Vol.1: Some Like it Hot (1959), One, Two, Three (1961), Irma La Douce (1963), Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Avanti!(1972). 
Vol.2: The Seven Year Itch (1955), Witness For the Prosecution (1957), The Apartment (1960), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970).

Billy Wilder. That is all. No, but in all honesty, as well as looking pretty snazzy, I think I'm safe in saying that these box sets would go down very well with most classic film fans.

Contains: Woman of the Year (1942), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Without Love (1945), The Sea of Grass (1947), State of the Union (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), Desk Set (1957), Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? (1967).

This box set is just exploding with awesome. There have been many Tracy&Hepburn box sets made but this is the only one so far to include all 9 of their films. 


Hope you enjoyed drooling over this list! (It's OK, I did too ;D) Speak to you soon!

Sophie's Top 10 Overrated Classics

So, which films do you think are overrated? A few titles, varying from person to person, always come to mind when that perennial question is asked. They might be films that 60 or 70 years on are still known by name at least by most people but that are, in essence, nothing more that exaggerated pieces of fluff (lol, you all know which blustery piece of cinema history I'm talking about.). Or they might be veritable cinematic masterpieces that, whilst the majority of the world fawns over them, you yourself find a little blegh. So please, take this list with a pinch of salt. It's deliberately flippant. There's only one film on this list that I can honestly say I absolutely detest. If you can guess which it is I won't give you a cookie (hint: it's not #1). Also, if you haven't seen some of these films please don't let my opinion of them put you off (not that any of you put such a huge weight on any of my opinions ;D) because I'm not saying these are terrible films (apart from one), I'm saying they're overrated. There's a world of difference. I think. Erm, let's get on with the show...

(Instead of writing long-winded descriptions of why I think they're overrated or why I disliked them, I'm just going to write three words that sum the film up for me. Watch me get less and less witty as the list progresses.)

#10 It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

Overly sentimental mush.

#9 Double Indemnity, 1944

That damn wig.

#8 North by Northwest, 1959

Exciting. Boooooooring. Exciting.

#7 Roman Holiday, 1953

Nauseating chick flick.

#6 The Wizard of Oz, 1939

Utterly, utterly terrifying.

#5 Pyscho, 1960

He killed her (now what?).

#4 West Side Story, 1961

(And the award for the most annoying musical ever goes to): West Side Story.

#3 Casablanca, 1942

Boring, dreary, dull.

#2 Gone With the Wind, 1939

Glorified soap opera.

#1 Citizen Kane, 1941

Everyone adores this?!
Feel free to despise me from now on :D But AYYYEEEEAYYY WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOUUUU! Bye!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

100 Essential Classic Films: Part 3 (80-71)

(You can find the other 100 Essential Classic Film posts here)

#80 The Browning Version, 1951

Dir.: Anthony Asquith
Starring: Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick
IMDb says: Forced to retire from an English public school. a disliked professor must confront his utter failures as a teacher, a husband, and a man.
Why I picked it: When I first saw this four years ago I really thought I wouldn't like it at all but from the word go, I was completely drawn in my the story. It's a magnificent. Although certainly not the type of film that one can watch over and over again, it really does deserve two or three watches because there is so much to be gleaned from it.

#79 Cool Hand Luke, 1967
Dir.: Stuart Rosenberg
Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy
IMDb says: A free-spirited convict refuses to conform to chain-gang life.
Why I picked it: In this film Paul Newman plays one of cinema's most brilliant and memorable anti-heroes, Luke Jackson. This is a film that makes it impossible for you to glance away from the scene even for a second; a film that necessitates more than one viewing for even minimal understanding of the incredible story. Whilst it may not appeal to everyone, I really can't recommend it enough.

#78 The Big Country, 1958
Dir.: William Wyler
Starring: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Caroll Baker, Charlton Heston
IMDb says: A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.
Why I picked it: I'm not a fan of Westerns and I never have been but this breathtakingly stunning film is one of the exceptions. As well as having one the best casts a film ever had, The Big Country has a really intriguing and exciting storyline, beautiful cinematography, and is absolutely epic.

#77 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, 1943
Dir.: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Starring: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
IMDb says: Portrays in warm-hearted detail the life and loves of one extraordinary man.
Why I picked it: The Archers made so many brilliant films but Colonel Blimp has to be one of the greatest of the lot. Besides the amazing work they did of directing, the entire cast all give excellent performances too (a special nod to Deborah for so magnificently pulling of playing three different women in one film). Keep a packet of tissues handy for this one!

#76 Rebel Without a Cause, 1955
Dir.: Nicholas Ray
Starring: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo
IMDb says: A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.
Why I picked it: Everyone knows about Rebel whether they've seen it or not and, as such, I'm not going to rave about it here, I'm just going to recommend that you watch it ASAP because this is one of those rare films that actually live up to the "hype".

#75 Whistle Down the Wind, 1961
Dir.: Bryan Forbes
Starring: Hayley Mills, Diane Holgate, Alan Barnes, Alan Bates, Bernard Lee
IMDb says: When an injured wife murderer takes refuge on a remote Lancashire farm, the owners three children mistakenly believe him to be the Second Coming of Christ.
Why I picked it: Whistle Down the Wind is a beautiful film which I would venture to say is one of the greatest British films ever made. It's charm and sense of nostalgia is timeless; it has a innocence about it that is just as touching today as it undoubtedly was when it came out.

#74 I'll Be Seeing You, 1944
Dir.: William Dieterle
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Spring Byington
IMDb says: A soldier suffering from battle fatigue meets a young woman on Christmas furlough from prison and their mutual loneliness blossoms into romance.
Why I picked it: I watched this film for the first time after Audrey included it in her Box Set Monday post . She described it as being a film that "has a very quiet and honest feel about" and I can certainly vouch for that. It's a Christmas film with a difference and, as we're in December now, I highly recommend a viewing! ;D

#73 Swing Time, 1936
Dir.: George Stevens
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire
IMDb says: A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer.
Why I picked it: When I was figuring out which films to put on this huge list, at one point realised that something was lacking on the list. After much head scratching, I realised I needed a Fred and Ginger film. As Swing Time is my favourite, I immediately chose that one. It's fresh, it's snappy, it has one the most incredible dance scenes ever, and it's FRED AND GINGER! What's not to love?!

#72 Gentlemen's Agreement, 1947
Dir.: Elia Kazan
Starring: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, Celeste Holm, June Havoc, John Garfield
IMDb says: A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.
Why I picked it: When I switched on the tv and saw this was playing, I have to admit I wasn't expecting too much of it. After all, Hollywood isn't really the best at handling delicate issues such as this. However, I became immediately engrossed and when the film ended I was pleasantly surprised with how amazing the film actually was. Like any film, it has it's flaws, but when you consider the year in which it was made it really is quite incredible.

#71 Modern Times, 1936
Dir.: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard
IMDb says: The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.
Why I picked it: Arguably one of Chaplin's finest films, Modern Times is a beautiful film which, whilst full to the brim with many hilarious comedy scenes that only the great Chaplin could pull off, also has a deeper, more sobering message to tell. The final scene where Chaplin and Goddard walk off, hand in hand, along a long (and winding) road with only themselves and their smiles to keep them going is definitely one of the most moving and most beautiful endings of a film ever.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My Year in Film: October & November


289. The Out of Towners (1970)
290. Veronica Guerin (2003)
291. The Children's Hour (1961)
292. The Good German (2006)
293. Valkyrie (2008)
294. Flying Down to Rio (1933)
295. Groundhog Day (1993)
296. Walk the Line (2005)
297. Father Goose (1964)
298. Show Boat (1936)


299. Together Again (1944)
300. The Guilt of Janet Ames (1947)
301. A Woman of Distinction (1950)
302. Take a Letter, Darling (1948)
303. Fast and Loose (1939)
304. Another Thin Man (1939)
305. Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
306. Marriage on the Rocks (1965)
307. A Place in the Sun (1951)
308. The Glass Key (1942)
309. Man Hunt (1941)
310. Topper (1937)
311. The Princess Comes Across (1936)
312. Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948)
313. Wuthering Heights (1939)
314. Lifeboat (1944)
315. Love Before Breakfast (1936)
316. Frenzy (1972)
317. Love is News (1937)
318. 'I Know Where I'm Going' (1945)
319. Imitation of Life (1934)
320. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
321. The Miniver Story (1950)
322. Carefree (1938)
323. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
324. Spellbound (1945)
325. Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
326. L'Atlante (1934)
327. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
328. Thor (2011)

1900s - 0
1910s - 0
1920s - 0
1930s - 14
1940s - 10
1950s - 4
1960s - 3
1970s - 2
1980s - 0
1990s - 1
2000s - 5
2010s - 1

Most Watched Actresses 

Rosalind Russell - 4
Carole Lombard - 2
Cate Blanchett - 2
Ginger Rogers - 2
Irene Dunne - 2
Miriam Hopkins - 2
Myrna Loy - 2
Shelley Winters - 2

Most Watched Actors

Cary Grant - 3
Fred Astaire - 2
Fred MacMurray - 2
Walter Pidgeon - 2
William Powell - 2

Favourite films of the month(s)
Walk the Line, Father Goose, Show Boat, A Woman of Distinction, The Princess Comes Across, and Lifeboat.
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