Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Film Finds of 2013

In 2013, I watched many 5-star films.  Most of them were repeat viewings of tried and true faves, and while I always enjoy watching a beloved favorite, I also love discovering "new to me" 5-star, "love it" films.  I came upon eight such films this year, seven of which, I have reviewed. I had intended to showcase the other one during Montgomery Clift's stint as "star of the month;" however, blog burnout prevented me from doing so.  I will try to get at that one sometime in the new year.

Here are my 5-star film "discoveries" for 2013.

1.  Edge of the City  (reviewed HERE)---Starring John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier, this 1957 racially-charged drama is one I caught during Mr. Poitier's reign as star of the month.  I am always completely and totally impressed by the performance Mr. Poitier gives.

2.  To Sir, with Love (reviewed HERE)---Another fabulously-acted drama discovered during Sidney Poitier month, this film features a beautiful, incredibly touching theme song.  The song, coupled with the sentimentality of the film, took this one from 4 to 5 stars for me.

3.  A Raisin in the Sun  (reviewed HERE)---A meaty, powerful, emotionally-charged racial drama, this film features some of the most incredible acting I have ever seen.  All the leads are spectacular---and Oscar worthy.  I truly believe Mr. Poitier's performance here is even more brilliant than in his Oscar-winning role in Lilies of the Field.

4.  The Red Badge of Courage (reviewed HERE)---Discovered during Audie Murphy month, this film is one I almost failed to watch, simply because I don't care for the novel upon which it is based.  Directed by John Huston, this Civil War drama sees Audie giving perhaps the very best performance of his career.

5.  The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone  (reviewed HERE)---Not a Tennessee Williams fan nor a Warren Beatty fan, I very nearly didn't watch this film.  It was only my desire to see Vivien Leigh's entire filmography which caused me to DVR it when TCM aired it in February.  The acting is stellar (even Mr. Beatty's!), the photography is beautiful, the score is spectacular, and the ending scene is powerful and haunting.  All those things combine to make this a 5-star film experience for me.

6.  Wild River---Starring Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick, this Elia Kazan film is meaty, hard-hitting, and very thought-provoking.  Not a feel-good story at all, it focuses on the Tennessee Valley Authority's need to remove long-time residents from their homes, in order to build a dam which will benefit thousands.  In support is Jo Van Fleet, and it is her amazing performance which takes this one into the 5-star category.  In her mid-40's here, yet playing a woman of 80+, she is positively brilliant.

7.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame  (reviewed HERE)---Discovered during Maureen O'Hara's month, this film is nothing short of spectacular.  A lavish production of Victor Hugo's classic, the film sees Charles Laughton giving what I think may well be the performance of his career.  The man is completely amazing!  The film also features hard-hitting drama, incredible costume design, a gorgeous Maureen O'Hara, and a very young Edmond O'Brien.

8.  The Quiet Man  (reviewed HERE)---Not a John Wayne fan, I have been putting this film off for years.  I decided to see it simply because it was being shown at the Egyptian Theatre as part of Maureen O'Hara's 93rd birthday bash, and it was going to be introduced by Miss O'Hara herself. Wow, what a spectacular first-time viewing experience it was---the big screen of a beautiful vintage theatre, a 700+ crowd, an introduction by the lovely Miss O'Hara; plus, the stunning scenery, the gorgeous musical score, and the beauty of the story itself.  What more could a person ask for?!

What makes a film a 5-star film for me?  It's a combination of three things...incredible acting, a deeply moving story which touches my heart and/or brings me to tears, and a powerful or bold dramatic story which I just can't get out of my mind.  (For me, comedy, while entertaining, rarely touches my heart...that's why there are few comedies among my favorite movies.)  Usually, all three of those things have to be working together for me to call a particular film a 5-star film.

So there you have my 5-star film discoveries for 2013.  What about y'all?  What 5-star film discoveries did you make this year?

Happy viewing!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Looking Back and Looking Forward

The end of the year is always a good time to take a look back at where we've been and what we've accomplished, as well as to look forward to what is on the horizon.  Here is what has been going on in my classic film/blogging life this year, with a little glimmer, as well, into what the next year holds.

January--I began 2013 being accepted into the membership of the Classic Movie Blog Association (CMBA).  It is a privilege and honor to be part of a community of classic film writers, and I've enjoyed being a part of the group and having the opportunity to get to know other classic film enthusiasts.  This year also saw me taking on another year of "star of the month" blogging, though instead of highlighting two or three stars each month, I scaled back and began highlighting only one, beginning with Loretta Young, in honor of her 100th birthday.

February---star of the month was the simply sensational Sidney Poitier.  Mr. Poitier excels at meaty, hard-hitting drama, and my "month of Sidney" resulted in three 5-star film discoveries for the year.  Also, I took part in the CMBA-hosted "Fabulous 40's" blogathon, highlighting Sentimental Journey.  Additionally, I caught An Affair to Remember on the big screen of Boise's Egyptian Theatre.  Seeing Cary Grant up close and personal on the big screen made the movie even more wonderful than it usually is.

March---not only was the great John Garfield my star of the month, I hosted a 4-day blogathon in honor of his 100th birthday.  Nearly two dozen other bloggers participated in the event.  This was my first time hosting such an event---it definitely won't be the last.

April---I highlighted Doris Day and baseball films and also took part in the James Cagney blogathon, reviewing that quintessential gangster film, The Public Enemy.

May---Another of this year's centennial birthdays, Stewart Granger was the star of the month.  I devoured his autobiography, Sparks Fly Upward, finding it an interesting, entertaining read.

June---I paid homage to war hero-turned-actor Audie Murphy, which made for my single most meaningful month of blogging ever.

July---I was out of town for 10 days, so I didn't get a lot of blogging done, but I did catch Gone with the Wind on the big screen of the beautiful, historic Egyptian Theatre.  That was right on track, as Olivia deHavilland was the star of the month.

August---star of the month was birthday girl Maureen O'Hara.  I was able to take part in her 93rd birthday bash here in Boise, by attending a showing of three of her films at The Egyptian, including The Quiet Man, which was introduced by Miss O'Hara herself.

September---I highlighted Claudette Colbert and participated in the Gish sisters blogathon.  I also began experiencing the first waves of blog burn-out, which were upon me full force by mid-October.

October---I shared my insight into George Eastman's A Place in the Sun mind in the Great Imaginary Film blogathon.  Montgomery Clift was the star of the month, but blog burn-out was intense, so I failed to really highlight him as I had intended.  Instead, I began a much-needed blog break.

November---On vacation for 3 weeks, I experienced almost nothing classic film related, except for 2 movies on TCM.

December---For the second year in a row, my daughter and I took in White Christmas on the big screen of the beautiful Egyptian Theatre.  I also found my blogging fire being rekindled.

This year also saw me enlarging my "absolute favorite guy" list to 10 guys...I call them my terrific 10.  As this elite group of special favorites grew, Humphrey Bogart found himself included in the group.  Also, Kirk Douglas came on the scene, not only making it onto my top-30 list, but very nearly into "terrific 10" status. Currently, I rank Kirk in my #2 grouping (the #11 through #20 guys), but he's pretty high up in that group---#15.  I can easily see him joining the elite in the not too distant future. His acting is brilliant...it mesmerizes me.

Movie-wise, 2013 gave me eight "5-star film discoveries".  While I have reviewed the majority of them throughout the year, in a future post, I'll reveal them again .

My blog break has been good, and it has served to rekindle the blog fire.  While there were times I considered abandoning blogging altogether, these weeks away have made clear that abandonment will not be happening.  I love sharing classic films too much to do that!  These weeks away----while good and necessary---have made my blogging heart grown fonder.  So, I'll be keeping this blog going, though I will only be writing 3 or 4 articles a month.  Also, I've decided to dispense with the star of the month format; while I enjoyed doing that, I prefer the flexibility of focusing on whatever films and stars strike my fancy on any particular day.  I will, however, be observing Tyrone Power's centennial birthday in May, as well as Richard Widmark's in December.  Other than those two scheduled months, though, it will be random and free around here.

A huge thanks to all of you for joining me in 2013; I look forward to having you along for 2014's ride as well.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, My Friends

Wishing all my dear blog friends the merriest of Christmases.  May it be a day filled to overflowing with love, joy, and laughter.

Our family will be hosting a Christmas Eve dinner for 13 guests.  (The original plan was for 5 guests, but we live by the "no family should be alone on Christmas" philosophy, so upon learning of 2 other families who wouldn't be with loved ones, we invited them to join us.). Later in the evening---after our guests have departed---we'll focus on the real reason for the season with our annual viewing of The Nativity Story.

Christmas Day, as has become our tradition, we will be taking in a movie (Saving Mr. Banks, this year) and, afterwards, having dinner at a Thai restaurant.  And then to end our Christmas day, as we have been doing for nearly a decade, we will settle in to watch It's a Wonderful Life...my absolute favorite Christmas movie of all time.

Whatever y'all's plans, I wish you safety on the roads and happiness and love in your celebrations.

Merry Christmas!!!

NOTE:  Image courtesy of The Old Design Shop (HERE)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reflecting on a Week of Losses

Wow, what a week it's been.  Four (!!) classic film greats departing this life in the same week.  I can't remember a week in which we have lost so many.  The ranks of Classic Hollywood are thinning out rapidly, and it makes me very sad.  Just like they don't make films like they used to, they don't make stars like they used to either.  Yesteryear's stars exuded glamour, elegance, and style in a way stars of today do not---with class and grace.  We will not see their likes again.

The first loss of the week was Eleanor Parker.

My #4 gal (behind only Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, and Barbara Stanwyck in my heart), Eleanor is very beloved to me.  When my daughter told me of her passing (since I am largely offline these days and hadn't seen anything about it), I couldn't help weeping.  In memory of her, I chose to watch one of her films that evening, and since there is a Santa Claus scene in Never Say Goodbye, I'll be watching that one as part of my Christmas movie viewing this week.

Following closely on the heels of Miss Parker's death was that of Audrey Totter.

It was through a Classic Hollywood posting on Facebook that I learned of Miss Totter's passing, and my first thought was, "Oh, no, not another one."  In recent years, it seems that 2 or 3 stars (but not 4!) have often passed around the same time. Audrey was fantastic at portraying the icy femme fatale of the 1940's noirs, but she could lean to a softer side as well, as evidenced in my favorite of her films---The Set-Up.

Only days after Audrey's death,  Peter O'Toole passed away.

I am not overly familiar with Mr. O'Toole's works, but there are several of his films I've been wanting to see---especially Lawrence of Arabia and The Lion in Winter.

Barely had the news of Mr. O'Toole's death crossed my path, when I learned (again from my daughter) that Joan Fontaine had died.

This one, again, hit me very hard.  Miss Fontaine is one of my top-15 favorite actresses, and I had fully intended to have her as a star of the month this year.  She was to have been October's star; however, for a variety of reasons, I changed my schedule in September, then ended up taking a blog break before October was out.  Now, I am kicking myself for that decision.  Oh, sure, I can highlight Joan some month next year, but I would much prefer having honored her while she was yet alive (as I did her sister Olivia in July).  My favorite of Miss Fontaine's films is Rebecca.  I think her performance in that film was Oscar-worthy---even better than her Academy Award-winning performance in Suspicion.

So, as we bid goodbye to four beloved stars, I am reminded of my favorite George Eliot quote, "Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them."  Thanks to so many great films which have been preserved for us, we will never forget you Eleanor, Audrey, Peter, and Joan.

And in the words of Clark Gable, "Death is something none of us can avoid.  I suppose it's pointless to worry about it.  Just live your life how you want and hope somebody remembers you fondly."  (From Dear Mr. Gable's Facebook page)

We do remember you fondly, dear friends.  May you all rest in peace.

NOTE:  All photos were obtained from Doctor Macro (HERE)

Monday, December 09, 2013

Rest in Peace, Beloved Eleanor

Although I am on a blog break through the holiday season, I have to interrupt my break in order to pay tribute to one of my most beloved actresses---the beautiful, exceedingly talented Eleanor Parker, who passed away this morning at the age of 91, due to complications of pneumonia.  (June 26, 1922 - December 9, 2013)

This lovely, gentle-voiced lady resides near the very top of my favorite actress list---at #4!   I completely love Miss Parker and am definitely on a quest to see as much of her filmography as I can. She was a terrific actress, receiving a Best Actress Academy Award nomination three times.  (I go on record as saying that I think she ought to have won in 1950, for her performance in Caged. Though I adore Judy Holliday [who did win], Bette Davis [who was also nominated], and Sunset Boulevard [for which Gloria Swanson was nominated], I definitely feel that Miss Parker's performance was the most brilliant of them all and ought to have garnered her the Oscar.)

It was my search for Robert Taylor films which brought this delightful lady to my attention. The two of them made three movies together (Above and BeyondValley of the Kings, and Many Rivers to Cross), and when I watched Above and Beyond for the first time, I was surprised to see a name I recognized from The Sound of Music.  I had no idea that the Eleanor Parker of Sound of Music had been part of Hollywood's "golden era" or even that she had made other films.  (Of course, since I didn't get into classic films until 2006, it's no surprise that I was ignorant of Miss Parker's career for so many years.)  At any rate, I loved Eleanor in Above and Beyond, so in addition to tracking down the other two films she had made with the handsome Mr. Taylor, I sought out several of her other works, and the more I saw of her, the more impressed I became.  She very quickly rose to near the very top of my favorite actress list---where she will remain forever.

Besides the afore-mentioned Caged, Above and Beyond, Valley of the Kings, and The Sound of Music, some other highly recommended, very loved, titles include The Man with the Golden ArmLizzieInterrupted Melody, Pride of the MarinesNever Say Goodbye, Detective Story, Escape from Fort Bravo, The Very Thought of You, Scaramouche, and A Hole in the Head.  A viewing of any one of those films will showcase Miss Parker's loveliness and the broad range of her talent.

Rest in peace, beloved Eleanor! You will always be one of my most favorite actresses.  Thank you for bringing so much enjoyment to my life through so many wonderful movies!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Time for a Blog Break

My dear blog readers, I have decided to take a break from blogging.  While I had originally intended to highlight Vivien Leigh and Burt Lancaster in the remaining two months of the year, I'm finding that I am severely burned out and in need of some time away.  I had hoped to get through October, so as not to abandon Montgomery Clift (whom I adore) during "his" month, but I've found that even my love for Monty does not trump my desire to take a step back.

The main reason for this decision is that I want to spend less time online.  The saying used to be that no one would get to the end of his life and say, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." Now, I think, no one will say, "I wish I'd spent more time online."  In fact, my guess is, we'll be more likely to say, "I wish I had spent less time online and more time doing the things I used to love doing before the internet invaded my life."  At any rate, that's what I want to do.

In addition to wanting to disengage from the computer, I've come to realize that since I have to take notes in order to accurately review a film, watching movies has ceased to be a joy and, instead, has become a burden.  Thus, I have determined a break is in order.  I expect to be back in January, but with the very scaled-back posting schedule of two or three posts a month.

In the meantime, I want to thank you for being faithful readers of my blog.  Thank you for allowing me to share my love of classic films with you these past 32 months.

Blessings to all of you!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Montgomery Clift!!

Happy 93rd birthday to one of my dearly loved all-time favorite actors...the incredibly talented, positively beautiful Montgomery Clift.  (October 17, 1920 - July 23, 1966)

Mr. Clift came into my life through Red River.  Our family had recently gotten into classic films, and my son was interested in watching some John Wayne flicks.  We checked our local library, and one of the DVD's they had was Red River.  I had never even heard of Montgomery Clift prior to then, and I had no idea what to expect.  Wow!  My first viewing of him nearly took my breath away.  I found him to be about the most handsome man I had ever seen (even in the scenes where he needed a shave)---ranking right up there with Rock Hudson and Tyrone Power.  But he wasn't just a beautiful face---on the contrary, he was terrific in his role and more than held his own with the formidable Duke.  Completely smitten, I went on a quest to see more of Clift's works, which brought several 4 and 5-star films into my life, including my all-time favorite Hitchcock film (I Confess) and my all-time favorite movie period (A Place in the Sun).

Sadly, Mr. Clift's life ended much too soon, and his film career consisted of only 17 titles.  I have seen 16 of them, and I expect to catch that final one fairly soon---it's been in some sort of "wait" status in my Classic Flix queue for several months now, so, surely, my time ought to be arising soon. However, there is a bittersweetness to catching this final film (and given that it is The Defector, it really is Monty's final film); yes, I will have watched the entire filmography of this extremely talented and very beloved actor, but once I've seen that film, I'm done.  There will never be another Monty Clift film to discover, and that is a very sad thought indeed.

In March of last year, I took part in a blogging event which paid homage to stars who left us too soon (before the age of 50), and Mr. Clift was the star I chose to honor.  It is my most-visited blog post (with over 5,000 page views) and the one of which I am the most proud.  I feel that if Monty was able to read that post, he would feel honored and loved.  I am not going to restate here all that I wrote in that post, but I'd love to have you read my from-the-heart tribute. (HERE)

So, here's to you, Mr. Montgomery Clift, on your 93rd birthday.  You were a completely fantastic actor who always gave a brilliant performance.  I completely adore you and will always count you among my beloveds and all-time favorite actors.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Search (1948)

The Search, from 1948, is a somewhat sentimental post-war drama, directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Montgomery Clift in his second film appearance.  Also starring Wendell Corey, Aline MacMahon, and Ivan Jandl, The Search provided Mr. Clift with his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination.  According to Clift's biography, Monty considered The Search to be "the most fulfilling artistic experience of his life."  (From Montgomery Clift, a Biography, by Patricia Bosworth.)

The movie begins with a trainload of displaced children arriving at a relief center, where they will be temporarily housed while a search is made for their relatives.  Though the intent of the center is to help, many of the children, having previously been herded onto trains and shipped off to concentration camps, are understandably terrified and untrusting.  One little boy in particular, Karel Malek, is so frightened that he actually finds a way to run away, escaping on his own into war-torn Germany.

Ralph "Steve" Stevenson (Monty Clift), an American soldier still stationed in Germany, happens upon the hungry and frightened little boy.

Feeling that the boy shouldn't be wandering around on his own, Steve feeds him and then takes him back to his apartment, with the intent to locate his parents.

Though fearful and untrusting at first, Karel comes to realize that Steve is his friend and wants to help him.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Hannah Malek is combing the relief centers in search of the son from whom she was separated at Auschwitz, hoping against hope that he still lives.

A sweet, mildly heart-tugging film, The Search always gets me misty-eyed. Montgomery Clift is extremely good in this Oscar-nominated role, and his chemistry with the little boy (Ivan Jandl) is terrific. Wanting to be completely prepared for his role, before shooting began, Mr. Clift lived for a time in an army engineer's unit, dressed in army fatigues, and toured U. N. Relief and Rehabilitation camps in Germany. He was totally driven to make his character and the film authentic, which resulted in numerous improvisations of the script and endless battles with the film's producer. In the end, though, the film received unanimous acclaim and Monty, who was pleased with his performance, became one of Hollywood's hottest stars.

A solid 4-star film, The Search is definitely worth watching, and since it is available on DVD, it ought to be fairly easy to track down.  If you are a Montgomery Clift fan, or if you like post-war films, definitely see this.  You're sure to enjoy it.

Happy viewing!!!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

To Stay in the Sun

The Great Imaginary Film Blogathon begins today over at Silver Scenes.  A "wishful thinking" event, this blogathon gives us the chance to do whatever we can imagine with a film. We might make a movie that's never been made, shake-up the cast of a perennial favorite, even use a different director or locale.  In my case, it's about imagining a non-existent scene in my all-time favorite movie. With nearly two dozen participants, this is sure to be a fantastic blogathon. Go HERE to visit all the other entries.

As stated, my addition to this terrific blogathon is a scene I've imagined from my all-time favorite movie, 1951's A Place in the Sun. Starring October's star of the month (and one of my most beloved guys), Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters, this George Stevens film won six Academy Awards (including Best Director for Mr. Stevens) and was nominated for three more.  I absolutely love love love this movie, and no matter how many times I watch it, I always wish it had a different ending than it does.  While I'm not one for spoilers and almost never give any, because of the scene on which my story is based, I will be letting out a bit of the story.  So, if you haven't seen A Place in the Sun, be warned---there are spoilers in this post.

You can read my full synopsis and review of this fantastic movie HERE.  However, for purposes of my imaginary scene, all you need to know is that I see Montgomery Clift's character in a sympathetic light.  While some (make that most) people I know consider George Eastman as no good and rotten to the core, I don't see him that way at all.  Since we're not privy to what is actually going on in George's mind in that very pivotal scene on the lake, I've imagined what he might be thinking.  Of course, my scene---had it actually been a part of the film---would give me the different ending I so desire. When George took the stand in his murder trial and was grilled by none other than beloved Perry Mason in a prosecuting role, these events would have been recalled, proving that Alice's death really was an accident.  While many of y'all may not agree, that is okay, as it seems I often march to the beat of my own drum. So, alone on the planet or not, this is how I see George Eastman.

After a long, hot summer, the early September evening air felt chilly----downright cold even---to George Eastman as he paddled the shabby canoe on the far side of Loon Lake.  A shiver racked George's body, but it wasn’t just the setting sun’s lack of warmth which brought about the shiver.  No, it was much more than that…it was the venomous, coldblooded thoughts coursing through his mind.

Like the proverbial “life flashing before the eyes” final thoughts of a dying man, the pictures flashing through George Eastman’s mind were coming fast and furiously…instantaneously almost…one right on top of the other.  Barely three minutes had passed, but an entire summer’s worth of living had been re-lived in his mind, bringing him to his reason for being on a remote lake just as the sun was setting.

Angela…her exquisite beauty had captivated him from the moment he saw her.  Never had he seen such a stunning creature; truly, she took his breath away.  Yet she hadn’t even noticed him…hadn’t given him the time of day---at first.  God must have been looking with favor upon him, though, because the next time he saw her---at the party at his uncle’s house---she had not only noticed him, but she had talked with him…and danced with him for hours.  By the time the evening ended, George knew there could never be any other woman for him---he was completely, totally, and forever in love with Miss Angela Vickers.

They saw each other again, and to the utter shock of a poor boy such as he, Angela---in all her beauty and wealth---loved him in return.  What he had ever done to be given such a gift, he didn’t know.  All he could do was thank his lucky stars that he was given it.  With Angela by his side and in his arms, life for George promised to be pure bliss.

George’s delirious joy---and the vivid image of Angela’s stunning beauty---was immediately eclipsed by the picture of another face…one which he did not love and, in fact, had come to hate.  He had never loved Alice…not for a minute.  She had been nothing more than a kindhearted person with whom he could spend time.  God knew how lonely he was…how starved for friendship…for someone to talk to.  Moving to California to take a job at his uncle’s factory, George had expected to be welcomed into the family fold…to be a part of their social circle.  Alas, nothing could have been further from what he got.  While his uncle gave him a job at the factory---feeling obligated to, no doubt---friendship with the family was not part of the deal.  They looked at him as the poor relation, and George knew it.  He wasn’t good enough to run in their social circle, so they ignored him….tended to look right through him as if he wasn’t there.  But George was there, and he was desperately lonely.  How he longed for a friend…and Alice offered that friendship.

He had never loved Alice…he had liked her, yes, but he had never loved her, and he had never lied and told her that he did.  So how it was that they ended up in bed together, he was never sure.  Just loneliness, he guessed….loneliness which engulfed both of them.  Things had just gone too far that evening, and he ended up spending the night at her place.  Oh, how he wished he could turn the clock back and relive that night…how he wish he would have walked away from Alice’s apartment before indulging in---as his mother would have said---the sins of the flesh.  It was that one mistake…that one “should never have done it” moment…which was now coming back to haunt him…threatening to rob him of Angela and the happiness he knew with only her.

A new image moved into George’s mind….that of a baby.  He couldn’t believe his one night of passion with Alice had resulted in pregnancy.  And now she was insisting that he marry her…something he did not want to do…something he could not do.   To marry Alice would be to lose Angela forever, and he would just as soon die as be without her.  Angela was his reason for living, his sun, moon, and stars all rolled into one.  To be separated from her would be more torturous than anything he had ever known.  If only there was no baby…if there was no Alice.

No Alice…well, there was a way to remove Alice from his life, and the image of that moved into George’s mind.  He knew Alice couldn’t swim, and it was for that reason that he had come up with the plan to take her out in a canoe.  It was easy...all he had to do was capsize the canoe and Alice would drown.  He would swim to safety…back to Angela.  Alice would die on the far side of Loon Lake, and no one would ever be the wiser…no one would know that it wasn’t an accident…no one would know that George, in fact, had murdered her.

With the word “murder,” the image of his devoutly religious mother came to George’s mind.  She and his late father had devoted their entire lives to the call of God, and they had instilled a knowledge of God’s Word into their son.  Commandment Number 6, “Thou shalt not murder” filled his mind.  It was a sin to kill someone, George knew that.  But, his mind argued, no one would ever know it was murder; they would think it was an accident, and George would be in the clear.   On the heels of that thought came Jeremiah 16:17,  “I am watching them closely, and I see every sin.  They cannot hope to hide from me.”    Someone would know what he had done.  While he might be able to hide the truth from everyone else, and while he might even be able to deceive himself, he could not pull the wool over God’s eyes.  Even now, God could see the evil that was in his heart.  God would always know that he had broken the commandment against killing, and no matter where he went, no matter what he did, he would never be able to hide from God.

Brokenhearted because he knew Angela would be lost to him forever, George realized that he couldn’t go through with his plan…he could not murder Alice.  It was one thing to hide his actions from everyone else, but it was entirely another thing to hide from God.  To stay in the sun---that beautiful, warm, radiant, breathtaking place he knew with Angela---would require him to try to hide from God for the rest of his days, and he knew that such an endeavor was futile.  He would have to leave the sun in order to be able to live with himself.

The image of Angela’s beautiful, beloved face and their time spent together moved once more into George’s mind.  “Goodbye, my darling.  I will always love you” were his final thoughts before Alice stood up in the far side of the dilapidated canoe, causing it to tip precariously to one side and then capsize completely, sending them both into the dark waters of the mountain lake.  By the time George resurfaced, Alice was nowhere to be seen…

If you have never seen A Place in the Sun, I highly, highly, highly recommend it.  It is a 5-star, "love it," "can't get enough of it" film for me.  The story is meaty, intense, and thought-provoking; the acting is fantastic---both Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters received Lead Performer Academy Award nominations for their work here (Monty is spectacular in all of his 17 films, but for me, this is the performance of his career---he is absolutely brilliant); Clift and Elizabeth Taylor are both breathtakingly beautiful; and the chemistry between them is fantastic.  Everything about this film just works perfectly.  And if you throw in my scene, well, you will get the happy ending you long for!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Recapping Claudette Colbert Month

Wow, the months are flying by at an alarming pace.  It seems like September began only yesterday, and now here it is, the middle of the afternoon on the 30th.  I enjoyed having Claudette Colbert as my star of the month, and while I didn't review (or even watch) as many of her films as I had originally intended, it was still a good month.  I enjoyed re-watches of some tried and true faves, plus I discovered some terrific "new to me" films.  Here's how everything panned out.

Over 75% of my readers (76%), count It Happened One Night as their favorite Colbert film. I am not at all surprised by that.  After all, it's Claudette's Academy Award-winning role, not to mention a best picture winner.  I figured it would probably be the most popular of all her films. In the far distant second place, with 12% of the vote, is Since You Went Away; Drums Along the Mohawk took third place, with 8%; and The Egg and I got a single vote to take fourth place, with 4% of the vote.  Garnering zero votes in the poll were Cleopatra and Imitation of Life.

No votes for Imitation of Life?  Say it isn't so!  I love that film, and I count it as my favorite of Miss Colbert's films.  It Happened One Night, however, is very beloved to me as well, and it can sometimes be my favorite of her films---if I am in a comedy mood that is.  Most of the time, though, Imitation of Life (reviewed HERE) takes the top position, with It Happened One Night (reviewed HERE) in second place.

Rounding out my list of 5 favorite Claudette Colbert films are:

3.  Tomorrow Is Forever  (1946---reviewed HERE)  Also starring George Brent and Orson Welles, this very touching war-time drama always brings me to tears.  After learning that husband Orson Welles has been killed in WWI, Claudette marries George Brent and raises a family.  Alas, Orson wasn't really killed, and he re-enters Claudette's life.  A definite sobber for me.

4.  Three Came Home  (1950)  Also starring Patric Knowles and Sessue Hayakawa, this WWII-era drama tells the story of American author Agnes Keith, who, along with her husband and young son, was living on a South Pacific island when the Japanese Army invaded.  Agnes and her son were sent to one prison camp, while her husband was sent to another.  An inspiring story, revealing the fortitude of the human spirit.

                                                                   image source

5.  Remember the Day  (1941---reviewed HERE)  Also starring John Payne, this touching, sentimental film was one of my "discoveries" this month.  After only one viewing, it went immediately to my "5 favorites" list.  The film features Claudette as a schoolteacher reminiscing about one of her former students on the eve of his hoped-for presidential nomination.

                                                                   image source

Thanks to everyone who joined me this month in celebration of Claudette.  Beginning tomorrow, Montgomery Clift will be moving front and center.

NOTE:  Unless otherwise noted, all photos were obtained from Doctor Macro (HERE)