Wednesday, May 30, 2012

She started this heat wave by...

Hey! It's another comparison post! I do like these a lot. I'll often watch movies or listen to soundtracks and discover new ideas for these posts. It's fascinating to me how a song can change between performers. As we prepare for another hot summer, I thought "Heat Wave" would be an appropriate topic. I'm sure there are other renditions of this number but the ones that came to mind were Marilyn Monroe's in There's No Business Like Show Business and the one performed by Fred Astaire and Olga San Juan in Blue Skies. Let's take Marilyn's version first.

In this clip, Marilyn gets all of the attention. The whole scene is all about her anyway. Contextually, she's taking the thunder from love-interest, Donald O'Connor's mother, played by Ethel Merman. Her costume and rendition to the song is in direct contrast to the showy, brassy version that the show biz family would have performed. Marilyn's version is, not surprisingly, pure sexiness. We're taking the whole lyric literally as Marilyn sings about her effect on the weather. She doesn't even have to say how she started the heat wave; we can see for ourselves! In a way, this number could have been replaced with any other song - it could even have been alluded to - its relevance to the plot is simply that this beautiful and sexy girl is stealing Donald O'Connor's heart, so completely that he is willing to let her steal his family's thunder. Seeing her do it is a special treat and, as the dad, played by Dan Dailey, points out - we can see why he did it.

In this clip, the song is performed in a huge production number, complete with a full chorus, sets, and costumes. The scene is a moving forward of the plot. The climax of the song ends with Fred Astaire's character falling off a bridge - a pivotal point in the film as a whole. The whole number, despite the lyrics, are actually centered around Fred Astaire (he is the major name, after all). Leading into the number, we see Fred taking a drink and know that things do not bode well for him. The number begins with Fred sitting on a staircase, he is the one who gets the solo dance bit, and his fall at the end of the number ends the scene. The lyrics have little to do with the scene at hand, except as backdrop and to allow for a showy and exotic production number. Despite how cute and sexy Olga San Juan is, she is not the focal point of the scene. As performed here, the song isn't about a girl so hot she's making the temperature climb, it's about a man who sees a girl and his interest in her ultimately (possibly indirectly) leads to his demise - a sort of mirroring of the plot in the film. The sexiness is decidedly toned down compared to Marilyn's version. The dresses cover up a great deal more in this one. I find that Olga's head scarf detracts somewhat from her appeal. I'm too distracted by her bunny ears to notice what else is going on! And the lyrics are changed - her feet are what make the temperature rise. This is definitely a Fred Astaire number.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I read a book the other day.

Here's an embarrassing addition to my movies to watch list: Dinner at Eight. Why is this one embarrassing? I own it. I've owned it for several years now. I keep putting it in my dvd player, then reading up on the basic plot summary to get an idea of what I'm getting into, deciding it sounds too convoluted to be enjoyable, then taking it out again. So I still haven't seen it. I got it in a boxed set of classic comedies that, in my humble opinion, is rather dubious a selection. I bought it for The Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby. It also included Stage Door which I find thoroughly depressing and frustrating and barely funny and To Be Or Not To Be, which I didn't enjoy as much either. It did include Libeled Lady, though, which I like a great deal. All this to say, I have yet to see it. What do you think? Worth watching?

Monday, May 28, 2012

If only half the things said about me were true, I'd be a very happy man.

And enter Louis Jourdan.

I added Three Coins in the Fountain to my Netflix queue when I had finished watching Gigi and Can-Can and was completely enamored by Louis Jourdan (sigh). And then by the time the movie got to me, I had kind of moved on, as I often do, and was pretty disappointed that I had to watch a movie I was no longer terribly interested in. Well, two minutes into this video clip and I think you'll see what recaptured my interest.

Honestly, I think a predatory prince who looked like that could invite me to Venice any day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ah, the tall tinker.

As if Errol Flynn could disguise his beautiful self from anyone. Psh. I do enjoy this costume. He looks so dashing in it, don't you think? I found this one at the TCM archives.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm really not sure how long I'll keep adding to this list of movies I've yet to see. But, for now, I'll keep going. I've never seen Citizen Kane. I know it's a classic. I've never watched an Orson Welles film, period, actually. I don't care for Orson Welles. I realize this is perfectly ridiculous to say as I've never seen his films but he just rubs me the wrong way. He seems really arrogant and that puts me off. He also made Rita Hayworth pretty heartbroken and I love Rita Hayworth. Seriously, how could you cheat on a woman that beautiful? So, I haven't been exactly jumping at the chance to watch his films. Eventually, maybe.

Monday, May 21, 2012

If a nightingale could sing like you...

This scene cracks me up every time. It's one of my favorites. Classic stuff!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Two for tea.

I love this photo!!! I'm really not sure where I found it though. I might have found it at that wonderful tumblr blog as well. It's so perfect!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Am I talking too much?

Next up in my list of movies to watch is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I rather like Frank Capra's films - most of the time, anyway. I've avoided this for some reason. I avoided Meet John Doe for a long time too. I'm not sure why. I kind of enjoy Capra's sentimentality. It's just that his films are a little stressful to watch and I can only take so much Capra-esque stress at a time - excluding It Happened One Night. That one's just fun.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't send me in dark despair from all that I hunger for.

I. Love. This. Song. His voice is just perfection in this. I was so excited when I found it on YouTube. Hooray for YouTube! It allows me to share my favorite things with people!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I must be quite a guy.

I found this (and a whole bunch of equally delicious photos) on a wonderful tumblr account. I stumbled onto it when I was looking for production photos of Mary Poppins. I wound up spending a good hour or two scrolling through the infinity that is tumblr, discovering photo after wonderful photo. This was one of them. I was pretty excited because I've had a hard time finding good photos of Gene Kelly. I guess it's just a matter of looking in the right places.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We are going to land on an Alp!

Do you know what movie I have yet to see? Around the World in 80 Days (1956).

I grew up with Phileas Fogg looking like Pierce Brosnan and just never got around to watching the David Niven version. Rather surprising, really, because I love David Niven. In any case, it's on my Netflix queue; we'll see if I ever actually watch it!

from Doctor Macro

Monday, May 7, 2012

They sure did ring that bell.

I really like this song, especially the way Lena Horne sings it. The song may or may not be more endeared to me by the fact that it was cut from Cabin in the Sky because some foolish people thought it inappropriate to have a black woman in a bubble bath. Good grief. If there's one thing I'm grateful for in living in the present day, it's that we're finally beginning to grow out of that kind of bigotry. I'm not saying we're through with it, of course, but we're making headway compared to the stupidity of back then. Anyway, it drives me crazy that this scene was cut from the movie. I just love her in this scene. She's so darn cute and sexy and beautiful. It tells loads more about her character than any other part in the movie, in my opinion.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How long has this been going on?

I really don't know where I found this photo. I think I stumbled upon it when I tried to look up a different picture of Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn but I just think it's one of the cutest and funniest pictures ever.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

and it's happy to see you!

Good heavens! Well, that was quite an unexpected hiatus. But, I'm back now. Hooray! And ready to get back to work here. Let's see, to start things off on the right foot, I'll get back to a much-neglected post series I had been about to start and never really went through with: movies I want to watch.

First off, I'd like to boast a little bit. This New Year's, I made a resolution to watch 50 movies I'd never seen before and read 20 books. I've actually already surpassed the book goal - just finished #22 - and I'm well underway on the movie goal - I watched #21 earlier this month. It's a fun resolution. It has its ups and downs though. In trying so hard to watch new things, I haven't really gotten around to watching old favorites quite as frequently. This isn't bad, exactly, but I have missed some old friends.

Anyhow, here's a movie I've been wanting to see but haven't yet gotten around to it: Sullivan's Travels.

It seems to be a really good movie. But I can't tell whether it's a comedy or a drama and that bothers me. I really don't like dramas that masquerade as comedies and so I've avoided it. But Veronica Lake does look positively adorable in a hat.