Alan: Is that why Ann, am I trying to please you?
Ann: Whether you’re trying or not, you are.
Christina Drayton: Now I have some instructions for you. I want you to go straight back to the gallery – Start your motor – When you get to the gallery tell Jennifer that she will be looking after things temporarily, she’s to give me a ring if there’s anything she can’t deal with herself. Then go into the office, and make out a check, for “cash,” for the sum of $5,000. Then carefully, but carefully Hilary, remove absolutely everything that might subsequently remind me that you had ever been there, including that yellow thing with the blue bulbs which you have such an affection for. Then take the check, for $5,000, which I feel you deserve, and get – permanently – lost. It’s not that I don’t want to know you, Hilary – although I don’t – it’s just that I’m afraid we’re not really the sort of people that you can afford to be associated with. Don’t speak, Hilary, just. . .go.
Charlie Allnut: How’d you like it?
Rose Sayer: Like it?
Charlie Allnut: White water rapids!
Rose Sayer: I never dreamed. . .
Charlie Allnut: I don’t blame you for being scared – not one bit. Nobody with good sense ain’t scared of white water. . .
Rose Sayer: I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!
Eleanor: And when you die, which is regrettable but necessary, what will happen to frail Alais and her pruny prince? You can’t think Richard’s going to wait for your grotesque to grow.
Henry II: You wouldn’t let him do a thing like that.
Eleanor: Let him? I’d push him through the nursery door.
Henry II: You’re not that cruel.
Eleanor: Don’t fret. We’ll wait until you’re dead to do it.
Henry II: Eleanor, what do you want?
Eleanor: Just what you want, a king for a son. You can make more, I can’t. You think I want to disappear? One son is all I’ve got, and you can blot him out and call me cruel? For these ten years you’ve lived with everything I’ve lost, and loved another woman through it all, and I am cruel? I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice!
As part of the What a Character! Blogathon, I decided to take an extended look at Lew Ayres as Ned Seton in George Cukor’s Holiday because not only is Lew Ayres one of my favorite actors, but this is the film that made me fall so hard for him. I also thought I would take this time to remind y’all that Lew Ayres: Hollywood’s Conscientious Objector goes on sale on November 1st. If you will remember, I contributed the foreword to that book and it would mean the world to me if you pre-ordered it; you won’t regret it, I swear.
I am going to go through Lew’s performance as Ned almost scene-by-scene, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, there will be spoilers.
This was a hard year for me to pick just one film to talk about. Like 1939 before it, so many great films were up for Hollywood’s top prize in 1940. I decided to go with The Philadelphia Story, however, because I saw it on the big screen a few weeks ago and I fell in love with it even more than I already had been. It’s so perfectly written, acted, directed, paced, shot, everything. Truly one of the greatest films of Hollywood’s Golden Era – or ever, really. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two: Best Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actress Ruth Hussey, Best Actress Katharine Hepburn, Best Actor Jimmy Stewart (won), Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were: All This, and Heaven Too, Foreign Correspondent, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, Kitty Folye, The Long Voyage Home, Our Town and winner Rebecca.
Ethel Thayer: You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re gonna get back on that horse and I’m gonna be right behind you, holding on tight and away we’re gonna go, go, go!
Norman Thayer Jr.: I don’t like horses. [beat] You are a pretty old dame, aren’t you?
Ethel Thayer: Oh!
Norman Thayer Jr.: What are you doin’ with a dotty old son of a bitch like me?
Ethel Thayer: Well, I haven’t the vaguest idea.
I actually watched 68 new-to-me movies in August altogether, which I believe is a record for me. 46 of them, however were on Turner Classic Movies’s Summer Under The Stars. There were several days where I watched between four and six films all in a row on TCM. There were even some days where in the midst of watching new-to-me films I watched some old favorites as well. I discovered at least one old film star I’d never known about and now love. I finally watched some essential classic films that had somehow escaped me up until now. I watched a few films that were pretty forgettable and I discovered some films that I will love forever. Overall, it was a wonderful journey of film immersion for someone who loves film down to her bones, and now I don’t know what do to with my life until next August.