An Ode to TCM

Sorry I’ve been m.i.a. since the Oscars. I’ve been having some problems at work. Long story short work’s no longer a problem, so I’m back. I’ve got a few posts related to film in 2010 that I want to post, but I’ve got to flesh them out a little before I post them.

However, today I spent quite a bit of time watching Turner Classic Movies. They had an amazing line-up today. I’d recommend all four of the films I watched today, but each one for very different reasons.

The first film I watched was Some Like It Hot. I’ve seen this film numerous times. It is definitely one of the absolute funniest films of all time. Billy Wilder truly is a genius.

I’ve been of the opinion that Marilyn Monroe is one of the Great Comediennes in film history. I don’t think she gets enough credit for her perfect comic timing. This film really showcases her comic chops. It also features stand out performances from Tony Curits and Jack Lemmon. It also has one of the greatest closing lines of all time, perfectly delivered by Joe E. Brown. 

Jerry: Oh no you don’t! Osgood, I’m gonna level with you. We can’t get married at all. 
Osgood: Why not? 
Jerry: Well, in the first place, I’m not a natural blonde. 
Osgood: Doesn’t matter. 
Jerry: I smoke! I smoke all the time! 
Osgood: I don’t care. 
Jerry: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I’ve been living with a saxophone player. 
Osgood: I forgive you. 
Jerry: [Tragically] I can never have children! 
Osgood: We can adopt some. 
Jerry: But you don’t understand, Osgood! 
[Pulls of wig
Jerry: I’m a man! 
Osgood: Well, nobody’s perfect! 

The next film they showed was The Palm Beach Story, which ranks #77 on AFI’s Top 100 Comedies. It stars Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee and a very funny Sig Arno. 

What’s so remarkable about this film is that it was made during WWII, a time when film became very serious. The film plays like a pre-war film, but not in such a way that it makes light of the times. There’s even a wonderful line about Roosevelt, uttered oh so nonchalantly by Mary Astor.

Princess Centimillia: I’d marry Captain McGlue tomorrow, even with that name.
Hackensacker: And divorce him the next month.
Princess Centimillia: Nothing in this world is permanent, except for Roosevelt, my dear.

Next was the ultra 60s, star-studded, yet somehow very lackluster Sex and the Single Girl. The film is loosely based on a book of the same name by Helen Gurley Brown (which was a major influence for Sex and the City) and was written by acclaimed novelist Joseph Heller. It’s also the film most directly parodied by the Ewan McGregor/Renee Zellweger film Down With Love.

The film stars Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis, Mel Ferrer, Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall. For the most part the film is borderline offensive and the only way I convinced myself to finish it was by convincing myself it was a different time. Really, the best part of the film was the last 15 minutes wherein the film devolves into a farcical car case involving Bavarian style pretzels.

The reason I say this film is worth a watch is for the very reason it kind of offended me, I think it is important to see what the world was once like for women. Where you were expected to choose between having a career or having a family. And if you did have a career and then fell in love you were expected to quit your job once you got married. We’ve got a lot of social freedoms these days that we tend to take for granted.

Lastly, I watched Blue Hawaii, featuring a perfectly charming Elvis Presley. It also stars a delightfully ditzy Angela Lansbury as his old guard southern mother. Fun fact: Lansbury was only ten years older than Elvis at the time the film was made.

I’m a big fan of Elvis and this film features several of his biggest hits, including my absolute favorite Elvis track – Can’t Help Falling In Love. Even if you aren’t a fan of Elvis, this is worth a watch for the beautiful Hawaiian landscape. And maybe by the end Elvis will work his charm and convert you.

Chad: You know something? On you, “wet” is my favorite color.


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on April 18, 2010, in Classic Film and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I love Some Like It Hot and think it is the greatest comedy every made and I think the script is perfect. I love Blue Hawaii. I could not bring myself to watch Sex and the Single Girl because for me it isn’t history – it’s my girlhood and what I fought against. I find it completely offensive and not funny enough to overcome it. Too bad – I love the stars.


  2. I’ve seen all of these movies, and they’re all extremely lovely. I do critique some like it hot, and Sex and the single girl, based on Natalie wood, and Marilyn Monroe’s performances. Monroe was awfully dull, with an overly exaggerated tone of complete ditz oozing out of her throughout the whole movie, but then again, I am a little biased, having never likes her. I always say, you’re either an Audrey Hepburn or a Marilyn Monroe, and I am certainly not a Marilyn. Next, Natalie wood, to be completely honest, I only really liked her in West Side Story. WSS was my first Natalie Wood film, and I was immediatley sold, but once her accent and that little sweetness MAria has to her faded, so my my appeal towards Natalie Wood. Gypsy was fairly decent, but even there, her decisions towards the end of the movie throw me off of her character, her accentless voice isn’t too charmin either, in my opinion. Now, the main reason I kept myself seated during these movies, was Tony Curtis! He’s so darling and charismatic, he could star alongside a broom and still make “her” seem appealing! Jack Lemmon, Henry Fonda, and Kat Hepburn do a wondeerful job of spicing up those two movies as well.
    The other three I can’t criticize one bit, I love them all, from the plot line of the palm beach story, to by utter devotion to any movie staring elvis!

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