Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tis the Season for Re-Viewing


For the longest time the Siren refused to look up anything about the New York Times' Verlyn Klinkenborg because she preferred her imaginings of the man--essentially, Uncle Henry in Understood Betsy. There's Verlyn is in the parlor of a 200-year-old farmhouse in Vermont, having his niece or nephew read Sir Walter Scott by an oil lamp while he mends some tack (whatever tack is).

Well, Verlyn is actually a rather trim fellow and much younger than Uncle Henry, and his farm is apparently in upstate New York. The Siren is happy to report, however, that his taste in reading material isn't too far from Uncle Henry's. Verlyn's a Dickens man, something which always makes the Siren feel comradeship with a writer. And he loves Eliot, and he likes to re-read his favorites:


Part of the fun of re-reading is that you are no longer bothered by the business of finding out what happens. Re-reading “Middlemarch,” for instance, or even “The Great Gatsby,” I’m able to pay attention to what’s really happening in the language itself — a pleasure surely as great as discovering who marries whom, and who dies and who does not.

The real secret of re-reading is simply this: It is impossible. The characters remain the same, and the words never change, but the reader always does. Pip is always there to be revisited, but you, the reader, are a little like the convict who surprises him in the graveyard — always a stranger.


The Siren was struck, when reading these paragraphs months ago, at how you could easily substitute re-watching movies for re-reading books. The Siren wants to see some of the Oscar bait out this month (Up in the Air) and some of it she does not. (The Road--are you bloody well kidding me? I don't care how good it is, I am not doing cannibals for Christmas. And that goes double for Precious.) Well, the Siren would love to be one of those encyclopedic cinephiles who has seen everything, new and old (howdy, Glenn, Peter, Andrew, David and the whole sidebar gang) but she keeps running into the same secret, shameful vice:

She re-watches movies. A lot.

One of life's great pleasures for the Siren comes when, like a dolled-up old broad hitting the jackpot at the slots, she flips over to Turner Classic Movies and hits a well-loved film. Somehow it's better when it's random, and not the process of careful selection at the DVD shelves. There's a particular thrill to turning on a TV and finding a movie that suits your life or week or mood precisely, like Mr. Blandings coming on last week as the Siren unpacked, or White Heat popping up just when the Siren needed a shot of Cagney. And when you tune in to a scene you adore, it's like running into a well-loved friend on the street.

The holiday season is a good time for re-viewing, as you naturally hunger for familiarity and warmth. So, in the spirit both of confession and renewal, the Siren is naming, strictly in the order in which they pop into her head, 10 films she's seen about 10 times, and a favorite scene (or two or three). Some I've mentioned before, some I haven't, but you aren't going to find surprises on here. This isn't a list made to impress. It's made to make the Siren happy.

1. The Maltese Falcon: Chipping away at lead. "Well sir, what do you suggest? We stand here and shed tears and call each other names, or shall we go to Istanbul?"

2. The Thin Man: Myrna: You asleep?
Bill: Yes!
Myrna: Good... I want to talk to you.



(Not only does the Siren cherish this scene, she's played it.)

3. Citizen Kane: "A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn't see me at all, but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl."

4. Rules of the Game: The hunt. Octave and Christine in the greenhouse.

5. Letter from an Unknown Woman: Joan, suddenly come back to life in Jourdan's memory, holding the gate for him once more. The Siren has probably seen this movie only about six times because it kills her but she's listing it anyway.

6. The Band Wagon. All of it, but I particularly love trying to figure out what "Louisiana Hayride" is supposed to be doing in the show within the movie. The most utterly incongruous number in the history of American musicals, if you ask the Siren, and that is some accomplishment.



7. Footlight Parade: My favorite 30s musical. Any scene with Cagney makes me happy.

8. Now, Voyager: Claude Rains. Bonita Granville at her bitchiest. "My mother. My mother! MY MOTHER!"

9. Twentieth Century: "I close the iron door..." (A catchphrase with an old boss of the Siren's.)

10. The Pirate: The "Nina" number. Such perfect Gene Kelly, in so many ways.


Oh, what the heck. It's the season of generosity. Here's 10 more.

11. My Favorite Wife: Cary Grant in the elevator. Irene Dunne laughing over the shoe salesman, with one little hand gesture to indicate the guy's height, and another for Cary.

12. A Night at the Opera: When the orchestra strikes up "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" the Siren falls over, every time.

13. Stagecoach: "Looks like I got the plague, don't it?"

14. Captain Blood: Some of the 1930s' most amazing eye candy, but the Siren's favorite is Basil Rathbone, lounging around that prison. Ah, Basil.


15. Shadow of a Doubt: Joe and Herb, discussing the perfect murder. The most obvious counterpoint in the world ("on the nose," in a popular phrase the Siren can't stand for some reason) but Hitchcock makes it perfect, building on their innocent chatter until you find it as unbearable as Charlie does.

16. Stage Door: Any time Eve Arden or Lucille Ball is on screen. "A pleasant little foursome. I predict a hatchet murder before the night is over."

17. All About Eve: Not mentioned much, because it isn't one of those famous barbs, but Sanders, purring to Barbara Bates: "Tell me, Phoebe, do you want someday to have an award like that of your own?...Then you must ask Miss Harrington how to get one. Miss Harrington knows all about it."

18. Mildred Pierce: "Not too much ice in that drink you're about to make for me."

19. To Be Or Not to Be: The Siren's favorite part of the running gag: "So they call me Concentration Camp Erhardt." "I thought you'd react like that."

20. Singin' in the Rain: Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont is a desert-island performance if ever there was one. "What do they think I am, dumb or something? Why, I make more money than Calvin Coolidge--PUT TOGETHER!"



That's all the Siren will allow herself, but if anyone wants to chime in with a few of their own, that would make her happy too. Consider it a gift.

114 comments:

Lou Lumenick said...

Four numbers from "The Band Wagon'' are shoehorned into the last 20 minutes of the exceedingly weird "Dancing in the Dark'' (1949) which is basically an uncredited remake of "Stardust'' except that talent agent William Powell is secretly the father of starlet Betsy Drake. MGM, which had no shortage of great cinematographers, borrowed its cameraman, Harry Jackson, from Fox, to shoot "The Band Wagon'' in 1953. He died that same year.

Yojimboen said...

Oh dear, my last post on the last thread raises the, for me, interesting issue of re-viewing previously-liked/disliked movies.
And then dot dot dot
Three nanoseconds later our hostess posts the new topic: re-viewing movies.
Skuh-hairy!

CrayolaThief said...

I always wait in fiendish anticipation for the following dialogue:

All About Eve
Lloyd: What makes you think either Miller or Sherwood would stand for the nonsense I take from you? You'd better stick to Beaumont and Fletcher! They've been dead for three hundred years!
Margo: ALL playwrights should be dead for three hundred years!

Citizen Kane
Leland: You still eating?
Kane: I'm still hungry.

Touch of Evil
Quinlan: An old lady on Main Street last night picked up a shoe. The shoe had a foot in it. We're gonna make you pay for that mess.

Night at the Opera
Driftwood: He pulled a knife on me so I shot him.

The Big Sleep
Carmen: Is he as cute as you are?
Marlowe: Nobody is.

Marilyn said...

Footlight Parade, The Band Wagon, The Thin Man would all be on my list. I'e probably seen The Song of Bernadetter more than anyone on the planet; I still contend it's the best biopic ever made. The Strawberry Blonde is a repeat favorite, though I try not to indulge too often so that it stays a special treat. I also like any version of Showboat, but especially the Irene Dunne version.

Charles Noland said...

You are on the nose, err, hit the nail on the head, or lets just say correct with the comment about the random appearance of a movie somehow adding to the experience. I've stumbled over a movie on tv that I have on DVD, with no intention of watching, and then gotten sucked into it on tv for some reason. I'd add that having seen a movie a few times, I often just jump into a favorite scene or two and watch only those. Pride & Prejudice(2005) is a good one for this for its great visual flourishes. A few others I can watch a bunch are Groundhog Day, Singin' in the Rain, Ride the High Country, Lethal Weapon (someone has to watch it when it's on every other week), The Lady Eve, Yellow Sky, Rio Bravo.

A good romantic comedy seems to wear particularly well. Movies that are good for me seem to be the sort of thing I might want to watch once, but that usually does it for me. (Oxbow Incident, 12 Angry Men come to mind)

Donna said...

Gosh, what a fabulous list, so many are my favorites. To your list of 20 (all favorites to re-watch) I would add without hesitation (in no particular order):

(1)Adventures of Robin Hood
(2)The Four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Valentino version, please)
(3) Gold Diggers of 1993 and agree and duplicate Footlight Parade is my favorite musical of the 1930s, (with apologies to Fred & Ginger)
(4) Baby Face
(5) Swing Time (my other favorite music of the 1930's)
(6) My Favorite Wife, The Awful Truth and Penny Serenade (Dunne & Grant made magic together in all 3 films)
(7) The Prisoner of Zenda - the 1937 version please with Coleman, Fairbanks, Jr. (happy 100th birthday today Doug) and David Niven
(8) Notorious
(9) Mask of Dimitrios
(10) Vertigo
and I could easily list another 20 on top of your 20 and my 10.

I'm also amused constantly but the selections of word verifications, today's was choice.

Donna said...

Oh and regarding Louisana Hayride, as incogruous as it may seem in the hodgepodge of the montage, it's still a terrific showoff number for the ever delightful, under utilized and talented Nanette Fabray. I always look for her in her small, early role in The Private Lives of Elisabeth and Essex. She was as much a looker as the luminous Olivia.

The Siren said...

Donna, I adore the Louisiana Hayride number and Nanette is indeed charming in it. I imagine it with someone like June Allyson and realize how deftly she keeps it from getting too corny.

Donna said...

Grrrrreaaaat....now I have Louisana Hayride playing on my inner iPod and soon I expect I will replay the entire Girl Hunt Ballet, too. Actually, neither is a bad thing.

Siren, the thought of June Allyson and Van Johnson in that number fills me with dread.

Vanwall said...

That Claude Rains film, "Casablanca", "a man like any ather man only more so", he moves amongst a crowd of shadows and ghostly presences, spouting timeless smart aleck-isms. "How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. Someday they may be scarce", or "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" and many more. Oops, forgot the other favorite people in that one, Cuddles and the German couple discussing the time. It was "Ten Vahtch", BTW.

X. Trapnel said...

Vanwall, he also said: "If I were a woman, and I weren't around I should be in love with Rick."

On the other hand, "It's the new German 77" is an aptly bathetic and lame riposte to "Is that cannon fire or is it my heart pounding?"

The Siren said...

As good as Bogart, Henreid and Bergman are, it's the wondrous Warner stock company that absolutely makes Casablanca. Their finest hour.

Chris said...

I've always felt that same way about "Louisiana Hayride" from a favorite musical that I've watched dozens of times. It's just so...odd. And I love Nanette Fabray.
Sometimes I'll break into my own rendition of it while, say, doing the dishes -- for no reason at all. Just like in the film!

Peter Nellhaus said...

As you will see from my future posts, I'm ignoring the end of the year Oscar bait as well. I am betting on an Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep for J & J. Not only can Streep do accents, but she made herself the tallest person in the movie, except for Jane Lynch. Some of the stuff I will eventually see on DVD, but the only film I'm planning to see theatrically is Fred Wiseman's new documentary on the Paris Opera Ballet.

As for re-viewing, I got hold of of Tartan's Region 2 version of my favorite Truffaut, The Soft Skin which has some extras devoted to Francoise Dorleac. I'm also planning a post on a favorite Jerry Lewis/Frank Tashlin film.

Happy Miser said...

"My Darling Clemintine"
Ike Clanton: "When you pull a gun: kill a man." Simple, yet effective.

"The Searchers"
Rev./Capt. Clayton: "Mose, how far is it to the river?"
Mose: "I been baptized, Reverend. I been baptized."

"Hold That Ghost"
Camille: "I always keep a pair a mules under my bed."
Ferdie: "And don't the board of healt say nuttin?"

DavidEhrenstein said...

Fabulous choices. I'd add a few of my personal faves:

"The French Lesson" leading into "The Best Things in Life Are Free" in Good News.

Dolores Gray undulating agressively in Cinemascope in the Thanks a Lot But No Thanks" number in It's Always Fair Weather.

John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands dancing to his song (as sung by the great Jack Sheldon) "I'm Almost in Love With You" in their kitchen in Love Streams

The parallel bars in If. . .

"The Last Goodbye" in Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train

"Won't You Charleston with Me" in The Boy Friend.

The opening scene of Ken Russell's Film of Tchaikovsky and The Music Lovers (its full and proper title.)

Diane Keaton singing "Seems Like Old Times" in Annie Hall.

George Chakiris and Grover Dale dancing to "Nous Voyagons de ville en ville" in The Young Girls of Rochefort

Corinne Marchand sining "Sans Toi" in Cleo de 5 a 7

"Old Boyfriends" in One From the Heart

The Siren said...

"Thanks for the banks and for the Santa Fe line/
Thanks for the darling uranium mine..." Oh god, love Dolores. She stole that movie.

CrayolaThief, love that scene in the Big Sleep too.

Happy Miser -- your list reminds me of the argument over tombstones in The Sons of Katie Elder, which is secretly one of my favorite Westerns ever.

Yojimboen said...

Re # 20 – Love me that Jean Hagen! Comden and Green wrote some of their best lines for Singin’ In The Rain.

My favorite exchange was always:

R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell): “We’re going to make The Duelling Cavalier into a talking picture!”

Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor): “Talking picture? That means I’m out of a job! At last I can start suffering and write that symphony!”

R.F.: “You’re not out of a job, we’re putting you in as head of the new music department!”

Cosmo: “Wow, thanks, R.F.! At last I can stop suffering and write that symphony!”

Tild said...

Adventures of Robin Hood

Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Cooper): "Such impudence your highness! If I could only reach him!"

~~~~

Now, Voyager

Charlotte: "Dora, I suspect you're a treasure."

~~~~

Easy Living

When the fur coat that was thrown out the penthouse window lands on Jean Arthur sitting on the open upper deck of a double decker bus, and the turban-wearing man sitting behind her utters dramatically: "Kismet!"

~~~~

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence: "In ten days I'll be back with the gold. With gold, with guns, with everything."


I actually say this every now and then, usually as I'm about to go out the door running errands. When the kids were living at home it used to always get a laugh out of them, but now that it's just me and the hub the only reaction I get is an "uh-huh" and some eye-rolling. Cripes, what a wet blanket I married.

J said...

In the spirit of this post, I was re-watching the Band Wagon tonight. I'm reminded of something that the film buffs here might help me with. There are so many wonderful things about the film: the Louisiana Hayride number of course, but also the shoeshine number, Fred at Grand Central Station... But Jack Buchanan is so perfect: wildly funny as the absurdly pretentious Jeff Cordova; terrific in the song and dance numbers; and I love his effortless transition to good trouper, when the Faust-inspired musical is a flop and the Fred Astaire character takes over. I'd love to know more about him and his movies. I've only seen one other (Monte Carlo, which I recommend). Does anyone know how I might find out about him?

J said...

P.S.

A sentimental favorite, with a Christmas theme:

Remember the Night with Fred Macmurray and Barbara Stanwyck

Tild said...

I second that, J, about Remember the Night.

Watching that movie always makes me want to just hug Elizabeth Patterson and Beulah Bondi. Wonderful.

MrsHenryWindleVale said...

You had to mention Gene Kelly in THE PIRATE, didn't you, even when it's fairly well-known that those words can turn me all swoony and irrational?

Of course, I concur.

I also feel much the same way about Dolores Gray in IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER. (This is a surprise?) Please scroll down a bit, at this address, and you'll read a lyric on this subject written by An Extremely Close Friend:

http://people-vs-drchilledair.blogspot.com/2005/04/dolores-gray.html

Vertigo's Psycho said...

I haven't had regular T.V. for several years, and I do miss turning the set on and finding a classic playing, knowing I'm watching the movie at the same time as many other film aficionados. Don’t know if I’ve seen all of these movies 10 times, but I’ve seen some of these scenes, many, many more times than that:

Bye Bye Birdie-
Ann-Margret at her apex singing the title song to close the film, and specifically, “There’s nothing left to say- but Conrad you’re a GAS!” and then giving that sex-kitten kiss to the camera.

Flamingo Road-
Joan Crawford explaining to corpulent nemesis Sydney Greenstreet just how hard it is to get rid of a dead elephant.

From Here to Eternity-
A despondent Montgomery Clift playing taps.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes-
Jane Russell explaining- "No one chaperones the chaperone. That's why I'm so right for this job."


The Heiress-
"I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters."

Hud-
Paul Newman and Patricia Neal driving back to the homestead-
“Want an orange? I’ll peel it for ya.”

Imitation of Life-
A conflicted Susan Kohner at the mirror- “I’m white. White. White!”

The Lady Eve-
Barbara Stanwyck on the train, detailing her past to new husband Henry Fonda.

Laura-
The homecoming.

A Letter to Three Wives-
Kirk Douglas correcting Florence Bates: “Bad! Not badly. You feel badly this way” and motioning with his hand.

Lord Love a Duck-
Tuesday Weld asking, “Where’s Marie?”

Member of the Wedding-
Ethel Waters singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

Night of Cabiria-
Cabiria nodding to us in her final closeup.

North By Northwest-
“Roger, pay the man the two dollars.”

Pillow Talk-
“Can you believe that? They sent a woman. That’s like sending a marshmallow to put out a bonfire” (Doris Day, after finding out the phone company sent a female to investigate hunky playboy Rock Hudson).
A hilariously deadpan Tony Randall asking a desk clerk “And you let her go?” when he finds Day has taken off with Hudson.

Psycho-
The parlor conversation between Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh:
“I am sorry. I, I only felt. . .it seems she's hurting you. I meant well."

The Tarnished Angels-
Sirk’s staging of Robert Stack’s final race, and its aftermath.

The Wizard of Oz-
“Can I have my dog back?”

Written on the Wind-
Dorthy Malone spitting out, “Only because of Mitch. Because I’ve never had him- and your wife has!” to her dipsomaniac, unbalanced brother Robert Stack.

Happy Miser said...

Also from Lawrence of Arabia:
"You tread heavily; but, you speak the truth." I use that myself.
Everything Anthony Quinn has to say; but, especially:
The speech which ends:"Yet I am poor; because I am a river to my people."
And:
I. I long for the vanished gardens of Cordova. Alec Quiness' delivery is whistful and longing at once.
The Quiet Man:
"When I drink whiskey. I drink whiskey. And when I drink water. I drink water."
How Green Is My Valley:
"A sum it is, girl. A problem for the mind. How many gallons and how long."
Beth Morgan: "IN A BATHTUB FULL OF HOLES!"

Exiled in NJ said...

The two interior scenes that almost bookend The Searchers: the breakfast, with Ward Bond trying to get his cup of coffee, and that horse like sound he makes, AND the wedding scene. There's a warmth to the Jorgenson's home that comes off the screen and into the room in which I watch. Bogdanovich notes the ceiling, which encloses the scene and makes it more intimate. Bond's bellowing fills the enclosed space.

There is a poignancy to that dialogue from Kane, "A white dress she had on." 99% of writers would reverse the order, but putting the dress first makes it memorable.

My other favorite: Billy Gilbert popping in to reveal the pardon in Friday.

Happy Miser said...

My Christmas re views always include:
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Karloff animated version, please.)
"Trim up your uncle and your aunt."
Miracle on 34th Street (need I say the original version?).
I love when the judge says: "Over ruled."
A Christmas Carol (Alistair Sim)
"This boy is ignorance. This girl is want. Beware them both; but, most of all: BEWARE THIS BOY!"
It's not in Dickens but:
"Can you forgive a pigheaded old fool for having no eyes to see with; nor ears to hear with all these years?" I get misty just typing it.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Pillow Talk, BTW, ws directed by Michael Gordon, whose grandson Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fast becoming a major star. Don't miss his stellar perfomances in Mysterious Skin, The Lookout and 500 Days of Summer.

X. Trapnel said...

My favorite Claude Rains moment: to Major S's demand that "this place be closed immediately," he responds with sauve disingenuousness,"But everybody's having such a good time." A line reading to be savoured like a fine Burgundy (Grands Echezeaux will do).

X. Trapnel said...

Most unactable line ever penned and the only flaw in Citizen Kane (only Allah is perfect):

Jed Leland: "Let's go to the window." (i.e., to see CFK riding off with Emily "No Rosebud" Norton). Compare Welles' suggestive "Let's go to the parlor."

This also reminds me of a favorite scene in It Happened One Night; the little man who rushes into the frame and exclaims "Come on everybody! King Westley's just arrived!" as though his whole life had been leading up to that moment. Does anybody know his name?

Tonio Kruger said...

I must confess that the scene from Bye Bye Birdie that Vertigo's Psycho mentions is one of my favorite movie scenes too.

And is it evil of me to admit I've probably more likely to rewatch Footlight Parade this Christmas season than watch Up in the Air. I realize that repentant capitalists are an old story element as old as Dickens but for some reason, I don't feel like spending part of my holiday watching George Clooney play a professional downsizer with a heart of gold. Besides, Cagney's woes in FP seem a lot more relevant nowadays.

And I'm so happy that Remember the Night is coming out on DVD courtesy of TCM.

As for Miracle on 34th Street, I refuse to admit that there is any other version in existence apart from the original, let alone one that is actually worth watching. I prefer to consider that John Hughes version to be the product of a bad dream...

Yojimboen said...

"Does anybody know his name?"

Carlton Griffin.

Exiled in NJ said...

Durante singing Frosty.

David Niven waving the celery to make a point in Bishop's Wife, and the dog leaving his side at the dinner table.

Christmas Carol:
"Notwithstanding" and "this time of the rolling year." (Marley's Ghost)

"We do but turn another page" (Christmas Past

I've memorized those lines, and "Curfew shall not toll"

X. Trapnel said...

Y, you have made my day. I like to imagine Mr. Griffin lavishing the overflow of his high spirits to cheer up King Westley with enough left over for Matthias Popkin.

word verification: bless

Indeed.

Karen said...

That Jean Hagen quote is pure comedy GOLD.

There's no way I could list all the movies I've watched so often I can quote them from memory. There was a time, in the 1980s, when I knew all of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by heart, including songs and choreography.

Interestingly enough, The Marx Brothers probably top my list, accompanied by Jimmy Cagney. Anything by Preston Sturges and, if I'm honest, most anything by Frank Capra. Anything by Lubitsch.

All About Eve. The Adventures of Robin Hood--and Captain Blood. Flynn and Rathbone were an unbeatable team. Most early Dietrich, especially Morocco and Blonde Venus. Gunga Din, the end of which, though I've seen it dozens of times, always makes me weep helplessly. Same with Gold Diggers of 1933--oh, that "Forgotten Man" number rips my heart out. Same with Beau Geste: "Did you give him a Viking's funeral?" "Yes." "With a dog at his feet?" "Markoff!" Yeah, yeah, I know that's not really the end, but that final scene always seemed so superfluous. I would have been okay with it ending with "Markoff!"

Top Hat, Shall We Dance, The Gay Divorcee. The Rage of Paris. The Women. I Love You Again. Oh, lord: The Philadelphia Story. And Torrid Zone. These are all films I own on DVD, but will still watch when they crop up on television. I can't not. I should probably add almost all of Billy Wilder as well.

You know what? I have to stop now. It's just getting ridiculous. How to limit it to 10? To 20? Impossible!

I know as soon as I read others' comments I'll be slapping my head at ones I left out, anyway.

Vanwall said...

I also like to relive the tiny things in the background that add to a scene - the aforementioned scene in "Citizen Kane" about the girl with the white dress on, the rain is heavy outside, sheeting down the large window in Mr. Bernstein's office, adding a layer of intimacy to it.

The scene where Scrooge apologizes has been mentioned, and that entire sequence, from his timid glance back to the maid, who nods slightly and urges him into the room, the couples singing what may be the best version of "Barbara Allen" ever recorded, even when cut so cleverly short, the startle of dinner guests at Scrooge's appearance, and little-remembered Olga Edwardes' wonderful smile of forgiveness as Fred's wife, and Sim's humanity as he receives it - if that doesn't melt your heart, you're truly dead.

In "The Duellists", I have trouble concentrating on the amazing swordfights, as I seem to spend half the film trying pull myself out of the French countryside, painterly and beautiful in a way only a real, unsullied location can look.

In Frankenheimer's "The Train", the railyard bustle is extremely fun to watch, and when Lancaster pours a new babbit on the huge con-rod, files it and muscles it over to the train, it's like he magically becomes someone else in the huge shop.

I love Millard Mitchell's suits in "Singin' in the Rain", and I often find myself looking at hat brims in film noirs, wondering who had the money for trimmed ones, and who wasn't to proud to wear raw brims. And one the best wearers was Paul Valentine, as Joe Stephanos in "Out of the Past" - he moved like a cat and looked like a million bucks in that one.

And Gustaf Gründgens' perfectly tailored gloves and Bowler hat in "M", they add that level of realism to his work, to say nothing of the the huge warehouse of...stuff, that Lorre is trapped in later.

I look for those streamlined Raymond Loewy art-deco touches in films from the 20's thru the 50's, and half the time I miss some action looking at the sets and backgrounds.

And nobody ever spit better than Alfonso Bedoya's Gold Hat, newly locked behind bars in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre".

Yojimboen said...

Second the motion - nobody was ever sexier on a treadmill than Ann-Margaret opening and closing Bye-Bye Birdie.

Speaking of which film - there’ll never be a better time to tell this. (True story. Neil Simon gives a bowdlerized account in his memoir ‘Rewrites’.)

At the wrap party for BBB, the story goes, producer Fred Kohlmar spoke at length about what a great production this had been and what confidence he had in its success; but mostly with pride at the wonderful debut of the amazing Ann-Margaret (applause applause); then director George Sydney added his fulsome praises. As celebrated a movie as this was destined to be, he said, it would be remembered mostly as the movie in which A Young Superstar Was Born by the name of Ann-Margaret.

Dick Van Dyke next added his two cents about the magical young redheaded sexpot, and so on and so on until… Maureen Stapleton rose (Maureen had had a glass or two by then) and addressed the assembly: “Okay, let me get this straight... Paul Lynde and me are only two people here who haven’t fucked Ann-Margaret?”

Happy Miser said...

Ruggles of Red Gap is another re- viewable choice.
Laughton's recitation of the Gettysburg Address is just one highlight.

Happy Miser said...

Three more recent films submitted for your consideration in the re-viewable catagory:
As Good As It Gets: "Where did they teach you to talk like that in some Panama City sailor wanna hump-hump bar... Go sell crazy somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.
Notting Hill and About A Boy and no I do not think Hugh Grant is the new Cary Grant. They're just sweet, entertaining movies and I like em so there!

R said...

red robin said:

Favorite re-view that's applicable this month in particular(but also works for me any month): "Christmas in Connecticut".

Favorite quote I always use but no one gets: Ruth Hussey in "The Philadelphia Story" re Jimmy Stewart:
"where's my wandering parakeet?"

Dave said...

Jack Buchanan being dragged to Hell in the backer's audition and the stunned audience leaving the theatre (after the egg!) in "The Band Wagon."

All About Eve: "I once looked into the heart of an artichoke."

The musical number and end credits (and the trailer!) in "Citizen Kane."

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in "A Night at the Opera."

"The Monkey Doodle Doo" in "The Cocoanuts."

Bogart in the bookstore in "The Big Sleep."

Dick Powell in some Warners musical calling out Guy Kibbee: "You are Uncle Ezra!"

The last fifteen minutes of "Yankee Doodle Dandy:" "Off the Record" and Cagney dancing down the stairs.

Kathleen Freeman in pretty much anything, but especially with Jerry Lewis and "Singin' in the Rain."

Thelma Ritter in "All About Eve:" "What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end"


"Christmas in July:" "'If you can't sleep at night, it's isn't the coffee, it's the bunk.' It's a pun, get it?" And the little high sign Powell gives Ellen Drew as he heads to the boss’s office.

"They All Laughed" in "Shall We Dance."

Sterling Holloway singing "The Perfect Day" in "Remember the Night" (the best Christmas movie ever.) The movie could so easily slip off the rails there, and it never does.

Joel McCrea's deadpan conga in "The More, the Merrier."

Oscar Levant in anything.

The blonde who dances with Gilbert Roland in "The Bad and the Beautiful" (and Roland himself in that moment)

The Three Stooges turning up at the end of "My Sister Eileen." And Larry Fine’s line "Oy! It's Hitler!" in "Dancing Lady"

Roscoe Karns in "It Happened One Night."

Eugene Pallette barking out "Landlord, fill the flowing bowl" in "My Man Godfrey."

And the greatest scene ever committed to film: The Weenie King in "The Palm Beach Story."

Exiled in NJ said...

Breakfast with Eugene Pallette, Marjorie Main, Clarence Muse and the Katzenjammer Kids.

Then there is:
"Hey, you remind me of a man."
"What man?"
"The man with the power"
"What power?"
"The power of hoo-doo."
"Hoo-doo?"
"You do."
"Do what?"
"Remind me of a man."

For this routine, Myrna Loy and the Happy Birthday scene, I will run, not walk, to watch this silly movie.

Miser, my wife will watch Notting Hill at least once a month and now has hooked me. At first it was to hear Al Green but now, once Spike walks in with "I want to tell you a story that will shrink you balls to the size of walnuts" I am hooked.

X. Trapnel said...

Mischa Auer in You Can't etc.:

1. Cop (suspiciously): "Where are you from?"
MA: "Omsk"
2. About the jail: "It's just like Siberia, except it stinks."

From Casablanca

"For special friends of Rick's we have a special discount." (This MUST be the Brothers Epstein.)

From Rebecca

George S. asking M de W about living well without working veery hard. A bracing blast of reality amidst the gothic doings.

From They Died with Their Boots On

"Walking through life with you, Madame, has been a very gracious thing." The quintessence of Walshian gallantry, a different sort than the Hawksian variety.

Danielle Darrieux without words

1. Rage of Paris: Magic tricks and later mimicking D.F.'s window opening efforts.
2. La Ronde: Indicating to D. Gelin that she knows what "the other room" is.

Cluny Brown

Boyer: "I know your Mr. Wilson. He is like a little boat, stuck in the mud, not going anywhere."
J. Jones: "Oh, you like him too!"

Happy Miser said...

How Green Was My Valley:
Pigeon to O'Hara: "You shall be queen where ever you walk."
The Lion in Winter:
Eleanor: "I'd hang you from the nipples; but, you'd shock the children."
see me beg.
Prince Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool... as if the way one fell down mattered.
Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.
Eleanor: He had a mind like Aristotle and a form like mortal sin.

Tom Block said...

The strange thing about "Louisiana Hayride" is that frenetic strobelight effect near the end of the number, when the hayseeds look like they're riding an out-of-control rollercoaster. Even if they weren't from the same director it'd make me think of Lana Turner's meltdown in her car in "The Bad and the Beautiful".

Some other faves:

That sleepy, sleazy little theme song that follows Virginia Mayo around in "White Heat"

The look on Eddie Bracken's face when Freddie Steele climbs up onto the stage at the end of "Hail the Conquering Hero"

Clift and Remick's first love scene in "Wild River"

Carradine and Duvall's first love scene in "Thieves Like Us" ("Keechie-Keechie-Keechie-koo...")

Gloria Grahame's realistic wardrobe in the beach scene of "In a Lonely Place"

In "The Lusty Men" Mitchum finding the "treasure" he stashed under his house as a boy: a broken capgun, and some pennies

The "hostesses" slipping back into the fog in "Marked Woman"

Bergman in the museum in "Voyage to Italy"

The impeccable and heartbreaking last two minutes of "Love Me or Leave Me"

Roxie Hart conking her head on the jury box

Gladys George trying to get a drunk Cagney to pull himself together in "Roaring Twenties"

Clooney and Wilkinson's perfect scene in the alley in "Michael Clayton"

Exiled in NJ said...

"Get a shovel and my Bible. I'll read over him." (Dunson/Wayne in Red River...he repeats 'read over him' with each death, e.g. Harry Carey Jr.)

"Never apologize. It's a sign of weakness." (Brittles/Wayne in Yellow Ribbon)

"That'll be the day" (Ethan/Wayne in The Searchers)

"I thought you were dead" (Richard Boone and others in Big Jake, to which Wayne responds "Hardly" to Boone and "Dead? The next person who says that I'm gonna shoot, so help me" to the hotel clerk.)

"He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long" (Will Danaher in Quiet Man)

"No patty-fingers, if you please. The proprieties at all times. Hold on to your hats" (Michaeleen Flynn in Quiet Man)

"Woman-of-the-house! I have brought the brother home to supper!" (Sean Thornton/Wayne in Quiet Man), followed shortly by "God bless all in this house" (Danaher/McLaglen) then "Sit down, sit down. That's what chairs are for" by Wayne, inebriated, in response. Dannaher said it earlier in the film to Wayne.

Earlier, an Irishwoman gleefully shouts to the running Wayne an O'Hara, "Sir!... Sir!... Here's a good stick, to beat the lovely lady."

Or Flynn, seeing the ruined bed in the cottage, "Impetuous! Homeric!"

Danaher to Flynn, after Flynn asked if there were a drop of anything in the house: "Help yourself to the buttermilk." Flynn shudders, "Buttermilk!" and then under his breath, "The *Borgias* would do better.

And, of course, no Wayne film could be complete without a "Thanks, I needed that."

Wayne had this way of latching on to signature words or lines in many of his films, repeating them several times. I can never remember the word in Rooster Cogburn, that remake of African Queen set in the west, but it is a measurement of land or time.

X. Trapnel said...

Addendum to Tom Block: The pathos of Cagney's expression in response to GG's ministrations

Tom Block said...

Indeed, Cagney's just beautiful in that scene.

A couple more I need to mention or I'll never be able to live with myself:

- the lynch mob gathering numbers and steam in "Fury"

- Tommy getting run over by the train in "Wild Boys of the Road"

- Bogart mocking Dvorak's coke habit by rubbing his nose in "Three on a Match"

- the astonishingly beautiful opening of Mamoulian's "Applause"

- Magnani sobbing and yelling a strangled, helpless "Aiuto!" on the park bench in "Bellissima"

- Broderick Crawford, with a quietly furious gesture, ordering the spotlight off of him in "Scandal Sheet"

- a washed-up John Payne watching one of his old prize fights on TV in "99 River Street"

Yojimboen said...

Generic Faves:

“I don’t like it, Sarge, it’s too quiet.”

“Don’t you die on me!”

(Crosstalk) “No-no, you go first…”

“But officer, my Johnny was always such a good boy!”

“Uh-oh, we’ve got company!”

"Watch out! She's gonna blow!"

"I picked you up out of the gutter...!”
(alt: “I made you and I can break you!)

“He’s not heavy, Father, he’s my brother…”

“Wow, whaddya know, she can really sing!”

“Aren’t you driving a little fast?”

“She’s standing right behind me, isn’t she?”

"I should have killed you when I had the chance!"

“Let me slip into something more comfortable.”
(alt: "Let me get you out of those wet things... and into a dry Martini.")

“Darling, the lights are going out all over Europe… We may not see them lit again for a long, long time.”

Specific Faves:

“I can’t believe it. Right here where we live. Right here in St. Louis.”

“She tried to sit on my lap… I was standing up at the time.”

"You complete me." (Kidding!)

“Hello, everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine.”

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

“Shut up and deal.”

“It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan!”

Most Fave:

“Stand still, Godfrey, it'll all be over in a minute.”

Exiled in NJ said...

Scenes I find on the DVD and play:

Burton Keyes probablities of suicide aria. In its own way, it is another Henreid leading the band.

That moment when Peter Falk senses the angel in Wings of Desire, and we realize Falk's role in the picture. I shivered the first time I saw that.

Luke picking and singing after he learns his mother died.

Bob Westal said...

Great list that includes many of my own favorites moments. The one exception is that I've never particularly loved "Louisiana Hayride" from "The Bandwagon" -- a movie in which I love almost everything (though I have a special soft spot for "By Myself," "I Guess I Have to Change My Plans" and "I Love Louisa").

And, yeah, the show within a show makes no sense to me either. Actually, though, isn't that kind of a rule about classic era backstage musicals -- the show they're putting on never seems to make any sense once it's finally put up.

gmoke said...

Takashi Shimura singing "Inochi mijikashi" (Life Is Short) in "Ikiru" first in the after-hours club and then in the snow on the swing.

Buster Keaton running down the stairs and running down the stairs and finally running down the stairs all the way to the basement to answer the phone in "The Cameraman" or the waterfall rescue in "Our Hospitality" or the storm in "Steamboat Bill Jr" with the building falling down around him, a scene recreated by Jackie Chan in "Project A" (if memory serves).

A friend just taught "The Searchers" in a college class and the students did NOT like it at all, at all. They do not know Westerns and found no resonance in their own lives.

For Christmas, I ordered the Preston Sturges seven movie set for my young nephew who likes comedies. All it really lacks is "Miracle of Morgan Creek" although I am also partial to "The Sins of Harold Diddlebock." I'm wondering what he will think of "The Palm Beach Story." I think it's "Hidden Fortress" for his next birthday.

"Serendipity" with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale (sigh) is a modern movie that stops me every time, if only for the great soundtrack.

There was a period of time when I'd see "Jules et Jim" and "Les Enfants du Paradis" once a year. "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" will stop me in my tracks. I am very lucky to have seen Roger Livesey on Broadway as the Gravedigger in the Nicol Williamson "Hamlet." I always loved that breathy voice. Anton Walbrook's speech about the truth of the Nazis is always telling.

Aaron Haspel said...

In the final party scene in The Women, a mother and daughter who are never seen again walk by, and the mother is saying, "And don't think I didn't hear that Princeton boy call me an old grizzlepuss either!"

Kills me every time.

Exiled in NJ said...

Newman as Sully/Gene Saks as his lawyer:
"I should have known better than to hire a one-legged lawyer."

"You can't afford a two-legged lawyer."

Same film, Dylan Walsh, Sully's son to Sully:
"It's not gonna be easy being you, is it?" And in reply, "Don't expect much from yourself in the beginning. I couldn't do everything at first, either."

Jessica Tandy as Ms. Beryl:
"Would you like a cup of tea, Donald?"
Sully: "Not now, not ever."

Ms. Beryl again: "We wear the chains we forge in life. Do you know who said that, Donald?"
Sully: "You did, in 8th Grade."

This wonderful film, which starts at Thanksgiving and ends near the New Year, resonates with me. I spent five happy years in that part of the world, and recognize a few shots of Hudson NY.

X. Trapnel said...

An addition to Yojim's generic list:

"Seize him!"

(Flynn movies, mostly)

Vanwall said...

Everyone points to Chaplin's shoe eating, but certain films have other hungry people in not intentionally dinner table settings.

Michael Denison's Algernon in Asquith's "The Importance of Being Earnest" is a grazer, he constantly seems to be eating something, especially the cucumber sandwiches, which then became unavailable, even for "ready money".

Forrest Tucker's laconic and inventive Phil in "Barquero", demonstrating how to eat ants, among other humorous quirks.

Walter Slezak's Prof. Barker, stealing a scene from Cary Grant by simply eating a sausage and kraut in "People Will Talk", which also has Finlay Currie's Shunderson explaining in a riveting speech why he had to kill, for the second time, a man eating pea soup in restaurant.

Frederic March's Matthew Harrison Brady, (like with a presidential assassins, you are required to use all three names) who eats his way to just short of a Mr Creosote ending. (not sure if Mr. Creosote qualifies as an unusual setting "eating" scene, or a "vomiting" scene, or an "explosion" scene.)

Albert Finney's Tom Jones and Diane Cilento's Jenny in "Tom Jones" have a wonderful "Eat Me, Drink Me, Love Me" fest, almost certainly not in the Christina Rossetti manner, and with atrocious table manners to boot.

Tuco's entrance in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" from a turquoise sky into the cave of banditos, where he examines the limited fare available.

I'm waiting for a film adaptation of Carl Hiaasen's work, I can't wait to see how they do Skink's road-kill buffet.

Yojimboen said...

M VW – It may interest you to know the Tom Jones eating sequence was considered ‘too suggestive’ and censored – excised – from the British release prints. When it comes to legislated morality, we Brits take a back seat to no one!

Vanwall said...

M. Yo - I have heard about the "no sex please we're British" clause the newborns were required to sign on the birth certificates back in the bad old days. Hard cheese, ol' chap. Shoulda popped over the pond to here, or jumped the ditch and watched it in Paris.

BTW, on your generic list, you might add one which used to be sc-fi oriented, but covers much more ground today:

"There are some things man is not meant to know."

Yojimboen said...

Yep, soon as I’d clicked ‘publish’ I remembered my favorite sci-fi moment. Edmund Gwenn in Them! (This one actually made the back-of-my-neck hairs stand to attention):

“We may be witnesses to a Biblical prophecy come true - 'And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation and the beast shall reign over the earth.’”

Yojimboen said...

Here it is on Youtube (about 58 secs in):

Dave said...

Oh, Exiled, you get major points for bringing up "Nobody's Fool." What a perfect gem of a movie; so good that even Melanie Griffith is likable.

dotty said...

Synchronicity!!! Just this morning, for no apparent reason, the very same thought flitted through my mind: that Louisiana Hayride was a very strange inclusion in the last compendium to The Bandwagon; if anyone cares to look on Youtube,some skilfull editor has spliced together Michael Jackson's SmoothCriminal(the song) to the GirlHunt ballet - surprise yourself, it's actually quite good, befitting. Also, must mention THAT shot of the look Cary Grant gives Irene Dunne in the guest lounge, a little after the world unhinged off its axis lean of stupefaction - oh my, the INTENSITY! sets of the vapours every time - too swoonmaking!

The Siren said...

This thread makes me so happy that every time I read it I don't want to spoil it by chipping in. So many of my own favorites here.

X. Trapnel said...

Another generic for Y's list:

"Hey, Mister, yer outta line"

Best uttered by Ernest Borgnine, or in an alternate universe by Wilfred Hyde-Whyte.

Dave said...

Christ, I left out the restaurant scene in "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer:" "Happy birthday, Mister Oberholzer!"

Who knew Sidney Sheldon had -that- in him?

Brian Doan said...

Siren, I love you-- so many good choices that I would second, third and fourth. Just to name three others from films you mentioned (and with such a long comments thread, I apologize if anyone already mentioned these):

1) Rules of the Game-- the look of geeky delight on Robert's face just before he unveils his latest music box to his guests; and around the same time, Octave's inability to get anyone to help him out of his bear costume;

2) Singin' In The Rain: Jean Hagen's obliviousness as the preview of THE DUELING CAVALIER falls apart, because she's just so excited to hear her own voice: "Listen to that! Good 'n' LOUD, ain't it?";

3) Astaire's rueful chuckle as he sings "By Myself," getting off the train in THE BAND WAGON.

To go back to what you mentioned at the top of the post, isn't weekend TCM great? I have been having a similar experience of turning things on in the middle and catching old favorites (TALK OF THE TOWN, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY) and new (REMEMBER THE NIGHT) the last couple of weeks. God, NIGHT is so good-- it really makes me want to catch all the Mitchell Liesen I haven't seen.

Brian Doan said...

Oh, and one more-- from THE THIN MAN, William Powell's response to Myrna Loy's "what's your type?": "You, darling-- lanky brunettes with wicked jaws."

Happy Miser said...

Gunga Din:
"You displease me, greatly and I ignore the both of you."
The Searchers:
"What good id that do ya?"
"By what you preach, none. By what that Comanche believes: ain't got no eyes, can't enter the spirit world, forced to wonder between the winds.
You get it, reverend.
Come on, blankethead." That's from memory, excuse any misquotes on my part.
I also giggle at Lars' response to his wife's philosophical speech about "We be Texacans... and Lars says to Ethan: "She was a school teacher, ya know."

Happy Miser said...

I love "Brassed Off"
"Is this man bothering you?"
"Of course he is; he's me dad."

Happy Miser said...

Two lines I'd give my eye teeth to use in real life:
Moby Dick:"Speak not to me of blasphemy, man. I'd strike the sun if it insulted me!"
To Have and Have Not:
"Go ahead; slap me." That one could backfire.
On the subject of To Have and Have Not: Why does Walter B call Bogart: Harry and Bacall calls Bogart: Steve? I can/could never figure that out.

Vanwall said...

Happy Miser - Don't forget the contributions of Mose Harper's pantomime in that Searchers scene, a triumph of editing.

As Bjorn said...

Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in "Bell, Book and Candle." Our favorite holiday movie. Ernie Kovacs, Elsa Lanchester, Hermione Gingold. Jack Lemmon playing bongo drums in the Stormy Weather at the underground Zodiac club. The look on his face at the climax. Zowie. And Novak at the end when she's lost her powers and Stewart comes into her store. "You made me unhappy."

The Siren said...

As Bjorn, I do love Bell Book and Candle and that's a movie that people are coming out about loving these days.

And isn't it wonderful how people are discovering and re-discovering and loving Remember the Night? I give the blogosphere a lot of credit for that, along with TCM. The channel ran it last year and the year before and a lot of bloggers watched and wrote it up, prompting people to come out in comments about what a good movie it is, and before you know it, there it is on DVD. Next year gang, we tackle Hold Back the Dawn.

Brian, I love "By Myself" too and sometimes when I go through Penn Station or Grand Central (not so often these days, alas) I find myself humming it. It's scenes like that which make me give a slight edge to Astaire over (the very very very great) Gene Kelly. Astaire could do dance-as-soliloquy so beautifully; his solos are like visible thought.

X. Trapnel said...

Later Astaire ("By Myself" especially) makes me think of Shakespeare's "How many things by season seasoned are" (Merchant of V.)

Yojimboen said...

Mr. Astaire by himself.
Love that exit.

Mark said...

For me the holiday season is all about It's A Wonderful Life, Gremlins, Lawrence of Arabia, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the BBC TV version of The Box of Delights. And maybe a James Bond film or two...

Perhaps a loved one will FINALLY treat me to the Murnau/Borzage/Fox boxset, now that really would be a festive treat... anyone listening? Anyone? Hello...?

Dan Leo said...

I first saw Twentieth Century in my twenties, those far-off pre-home video days, at Temple University, and I have been "closing the iron door" ever since. In fact I used it just yesterday when my lady friend was complaining about one of her lady friends: "It's time to close the iron door!" She heartily agreed with me.

Love closing that iron door...

Tom Block said...

happymiser:
>Why does Walter B call Bogart: Harry and Bacall calls Bogart: Steve? I can/could never figure that out.

Harry is the character's name. "Steve" is an in-joke--Hawks' wife called him "Steve" and he called her "Slim," which Bogart calls Bacall in "To Have."

DrBB said...

X. Trapnel: "On the other hand, 'It's the new German 77' is an aptly bathetic and lame riposte to 'Is that cannon fire or is it my heart pounding?'"

True. But it's also quite a deft and subtle little piece of exposition. In his other life, Rick was an arms dealer.

Exiled in NJ said...

Another guilty pleasure this time of year is seeing Colin Firth's sojurn in the south of France, with Love Actually happening to him in the form of his Portuguese cleaning girl.

And from the same film, Hugh Grant caroling his way up the street while he searches for the love of his life.

X. Trapnel said...

Never thought of that, Dr. B, bravo.

A friend of mine recently raised the issue of Rick knowingly underpaying Sam by 10%. Is his attempt to make amends part of his moral regeneration consequent to the previous night's presumed festivities?

ajm said...

"The Girl Hunt" sequence in THE BAND WAGON, btw, is reportedly the work of Freed unit stalwart/serial monogamist Alan Jay Lerner...

round guy said...

Double Indemnity
Every single time Fred McMurray says 'baby.'

Touch of Evil
That beautiful opening tracking shot in the re-release.

And Charlton Heston....

Sullivan's Travels
That insane scene where the prisoners are watching the movie.

Mary said...

I second the nomination for "Christmas in Connecticut", one of my favourites. Stanwyck is so joyous and confident throughout it.

Best scenes are the romantic sleighride and the voice-over of Stanwyck writing her faux-Martha-Stewart column about the glowing Christmas fireside in her country home while the camera pans to the sizzling radiator in her New York apartment.

Best lines are the ones at the end:

Dennis Morgan: I'm free as a bird.
Stanwyck: That's what you think!

Just the way she says it ...

Dave said...

Round Guy's comment makes me wonder: Does anyone but the people in "Sullivan's Travels" think that Mickey Mouse cartoon is funny? Is it some kind of comment by Sturges on people wanting lowest common denominator entertainment?

DavidEhrenstein said...

We don't have to find the Mickey Mouse cartoon funny for the scene to work. After all the audience is full of exhausted convicts.

Mary Astor in The Palm Beach Story has long been my role model

"Dignity. Always Dignity!" from Singin' in the Rain is Beyond Great, but my all-time favorite mov ie line is from Sunday Bloody Sunda

"Here come those tired old tits again!".

Tom Block said...

Yeah, I think Sturges' point is that people suffering deprivation and hardship can find joy in the slightest thing*, and if you're capable of providing joy for people like that, there's something wrong with you if you don't do it. (Not everything is a comment on pop culture.)

* Not that different than William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow," come to think of it...

Yojimboen said...

Sturges’s message – or perhaps his entire credo - is contained in Sully’s last line:

“It (the gift of laughter) isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan! Boy!”

Batocchio said...

Great list! As for "Not only does the Siren cherish this scene, she's played it," it makes me laugh, since I've been on the receiving end.

In comments, I agree completely with Sullivan's Travels and Ikiru, two of my all-time favorites. There are many more...

Karen said...

I, too, adore Bell, Book and Candle, but I'm always depressed by the sight of Kim Novak at the end in her bright yellow daisy-trimmed organza, after looking so spectacularly sexy throughout in her beat garb. And the sight of her bare feet intertwined with Jimmy Stewart's on the coffee table is one of the sexiest shots in cinema.

On the topic of re-viewing, there's probably no better indicator than pieces of dialogue that make it into one's personal lexicon. And so I include:

"I must go. I must go--to Moscow." (pronounced "Mozz-koh") -- said by Fred Astaire, over-playing Russian dancer Petrov for the benefit of Ginger Rogers in Shall We Dance. One of my closest friends and I use this constantly when we have to end a conversation.

"Honey, we ALL deserve to wear white." Susan Sarandon as Annie to formerly promiscuous Millie as they prepare Millie's wedding dress, in Bull Durham. I cannot overemphasize how full of quotable lines this film is. My aforementioned friend and I believe there is an epigram for every conceivable occasion in this script. We are also fond of "Don't think. Just throw." and "William Blake?!?" "YES, William Blake!!"

"Look! Round windows!" Marilyn Monroe as Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, upon first seeing portholes. I am psychologically incapable of not saying this, in a breathy voice, whenever I see round windows anywhere. Does anyone I am with get it? No, they do not. Does this stop me? I think you know the answer to that.

"Living alone has its compensations. Heaven knows it's marvelous being able to spread out in bed like a swastika," as said by the divine Lucile Watson as Norma Shearer's mother in The Women. Needless to say, this is one I save for select company. I still can't get over this line being in a major motion picture in 1939. I sense it's probably not one that made it into the Diane English remake.

Exiled in NJ said...

More scenes I watch again and again:

"Eleven hundred men went into the water."

Ellen Burstyn as Lois telling Sonny how "Sam the Lion" got his name, and earlier in the film, Sam and Sonny, fishing at the tank, while Sam rolls a smoke and tells Sonny of his past nameless love.

Grant, Russell, Lockhart, Alma Kruger and company, with a Qualen in the desk as the film roars to its conclusion.

Every bit of discourse between Chance and Ben in Being There.

John & Pearl's river journey in Night of the Hunter.

Vanwall said...

Karen -

Bull Durham has some serious baseball mojo, and the language is ice-cold real. Crash's monologue to Annie about choosing is amazing, and the part where the ladies are listening to the radio play-by-play when Crash curses the Ump - they KNOW what he said intuitively.

Other great lines, I use all the time:

"Don't think; it can only hurt the ball club."

"Well, my triple-A contract gets bought out so I can hold some flavor-of-the-month's dick in the bus leagues, is that it?"

"This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit."

When it rains, I say "Oh my Gosh! We got ourselves a Natural Disaster!" 'Course I don't always get someone to spew beer outta their nose when I do.

Exiled in NJ said...

And "Bull" may be the only film where I can stand Mr. Monotone, Costner.

X. Trapnel said...

Is KC still out there alternating between J.H. Christ figures and broken-down athletes? How about a remake of Ben Hur as a charioteer past his prime.

Tom Block said...

>John & Pearl's river journey in Night of the Hunter

That's one of my favorites, too. Parts of Lewton & Wise's "Curse of the Cat People" come really close to that same tone--there's just some incredibly beautiful stuff in that movie.

Yojimboen said...

Thanks X, for the image of KC as Judah Ben-Hur.
Now, how do I get the coffee out of my keyboard?

Karen said...

I had the [some would say dubious] pleasure of working as a bartender for nearly 10 years in the hotel that hosts all the teams that play the Mets and the Yankees. In that time, I got to know a lot of ballplayers and went to a lot of games and so, yes, Vanwall, you are absolutely correct that Bull Durham's mojo and language are ice-cold real. The thing's practically cinema verite.

I'm also very fond of "Can't you let me enjoy the moment?" "The moment's over."

And when anyone asks me to recommend a gift, I have to say, "Candlesticks are always nice."

On to other quotes: I have used "That's just the kind of a hairpin I am" from The Strawberry Blonde since I was in high school. Which was a Very Long Time Ago.

I have also used a variation on Gary Cooper's two-fingers-to-the-forehead salute, which he uses in several films but which first wrenched my heart when deployed from the read window of a Paris taxi in Love in the Afternoon. For what it's worth, I first saw THAT film when I was in high school as well, and I had absolutely no sense of Coop's age.

William Powell's strategically placed "Coo-coo-roo-roo"s in I Love You Again, a Powell/Loy film that deserves the same sort of resurrection that Remember the Night has enjoyed.

X. Trapnel said...

Y, I just had an inspiration: how 'bout a remake of--wait for it--SOYLENT GREEN with KC! But could he ever out do Heston's reading of "d'jever seeya piecea soap this big, EH?"

X. Trapnel said...

Re new banner: Has Jane given way to Jenny?

Yojimboen said...

Better yet, how about KC in remakes of Robin Hood, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Top Gun/An Officer and A Gentleman, The Graduate, Terms of Endearment, The Untouchables, Wyatt Earp, The Big Clock…?

What’s that?
Oh, sorry. Never mind.

Yojimboen said...

A touch of class on the banner, Madame. Class.

Donna said...

Oh! Portrait of Jennie, how lovely and perfect on this sad day.

Exiled in NJ said...

The drink cart/read the list of lovers/Gypsies scene in Love in the Afternoon, followed by his meeting with John McGiver in the Turkish bath. So many feel Grant should have played Flanigan, but he would have sputtered and mugged his way on hearing the list of lovers. I saw it in high school too, Karen.

Karen said...

Oh, Exiled, that Dictaphone scene! Priceless.

I think Grant would have been OK if he'd played it more like It Takes a Thief than Arsenic and Old Lace. But Cooper was just divine by me.

Another from my personal lexicon: "C.K. Dexter Haven, you have unsuspected depths!"

Yojimboen said...

I’ve always wondered why Grant is so way over the top in Arsenic and Old Lace. Capra wasn’t that ham-fisted a director and Josephine Hull and Jean Adair gave wonderfully subtle readings as Aunts Abby & Martha Brewster. Granted, the play was fairly broad, but the Epstein brothers toned it down several notches.

I can only guess that Cary - who got talked into donating his entire salary to the war effort - was in a hurry to get it over with and back to some paying work. Cary’s other reputation was that of a less-than-generous man. I knew a writer who knew him for years and who put it gently: “If you went to dinner with Cary Grant, ninety-nine times out of a hundred he out-fumbled you for the check.”

OldMayfly said...

Cary Grant was born and raised so desperately poor that I guess he never got over anxiety about money.

Mary, I love Christmas in Connecticut, too. (Except I do think the finish of the movie takes too long and could have been tighter.) My favorite scene is the buffet when the architect (I know the actor but am having a senior moment) proposes to Stanwyck, and Cuddles, who doesn't approve of him follows every phrase of the proposal by offering Stanwyck food: "Nuts!" "Baloney!" "Horseradish!" "Nuts!"

DavidEhrenstein said...

That also explains his penchant for marrying wealthy women.

The Siren said...

Chaplin, whose childhood was even more ghastly than Grant's, was also notoriously tight with a dollar.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Bob Westal is so right about the musical-within-the-musical. Have you ever tried to make sense of "Pretty Lady" in "42nd Street"?

Paul Newman in "Slap Shot": "Don't ever play 'Lady of Spain' again!"

Tony Shalhoub in "Barton Fink": "If you throw a rock in here, you'll hit a writer. Do me a favor, Fink -- throw it hard!"

Irene Handl in "Morgan": "He wanted to shoot the royal family, abolish marriage, and put everyone who went to public school in a chain gang. Your father was an idealist."

Burt Lancaster in "Sweet Smell of Success": "I'd hate to take a bite out of you, Sidney. You're a cookie full of arsenic."

(and so many more)

LTG said...

My god what is wrong with you folks?
From "the Third Man":

"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

LTG said...

also, "one Eyed Jacks"
Brando to Malden, "you're a one eyed jack, dad, and I've seen the other side of your face"

Igenlode Wordsmith said...

Re Jack Buchanan and "Band Wagon" (belatedly): Jack Buchanan was an extremely successful pre-war London matinee idol, singer, dancer and star of many British film comedies in the 1930s. He toured America with Jessie Matthews in the 1929 Cole Porter revue "Wake Up and Dream" after its London success, substituting for the original leading man Sonnie Hale on the grounds that his name had better recognition on Broadway, and appeared in a handful of Hollywood productions during the talkie panic circa 1930. (One wonders why Matthews and Buchanan, as top British male and female dance performers, were never teamed together on screen, but apparently they failed to get on during that US tour -- Buchanan having been an established star while she was still in the chorus -- and he had his own regular partner in the shape of Elsie Randolph.)

His performance in "the Band Wagon" came at the end of a long career.

cgeye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cgeye said...

It's too late in the day, and after reading this holiday about the Great Beast managing an all-girl revue called the Ragged Ragtime Girls, and the above precis of Mr. Buchanan's career, I wonder what would Alastair Crowley made of the Freed Unit... considering Mr. Schary's management style, we can't assume he wouldn't have fit in....

word verif: drowlse. What I should be doing instead of watching the last Capra film of his festival on TCM.... Rain or Shine, which is as shaggy as it comes...