Friday, December 11, 2015

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

Looking for something new for your holiday viewing this year?  Look no further than the little-known 1947 heartwarmer It Happened on Fifth Avenue. Directed by Roy Del Ruth, this delightful film stars Victor Moore, Don DeFore, Charlie Ruggles, Ann Harding, and Gale Storm.  Since catching this 4-star charmer when it made its TCM premiere in 2009 (as one of their holiday movies), our family has included it in our own holiday viewing schedule.  Although the setting is more winter than Christmas---with the exception of a small tree-trimming/Christmas Eve scene---I think the message of the movie shouts that this is a holiday movie.

The story takes place on Fifth Avenue in New York City, at the home of the extremely wealthy Michael O'Connor (Charlie Ruggles).  Every winter, from November 1st to March 15th, O'Connor closes up his mansion and heads south to Virginia.  What he doesn't know is that after he moves out, the homeless Aloysius McKeever (Victor Moore) moves in.

This particular year, McKeever runs into Jim Bullock (Don DeFore), whose apartment building has just been sold, sending him to the streets in search of new living arrangements.  Unable to find anything, Jim is resting on a park bench when McKeever meets up with him.  Telling Jim he lives alone, McKeever invites Jim to be his guest for the evening.  Jim has no idea Mac (as he calls McKeever) is living in the home with the owner unaware, so he accepts the offer.

That same evening, O'Connor's daughter, Trudy (Gale Storm), who has run away from her finishing school, arrives at the house, and not wanting Mac and Jim to know of her connection to the very wealthy O'Connor, she invents a story about being in town looking for a job.  She, too, is invited to remain a guest in the mansion, and very soon, she and Jim are in love with one another.

Before long, two of Jim's Army buddies---unable to find a suitable apartment---are calling the O'Connor mansion home, and then when O'Connor himself makes an unexpected early appearance, he is assumed to be homeless and, also, is welcomed into the fold.

How long can the charade be kept up?  How long will Michael O'Connor be willing to be a guest in his own home?  And what happens when Trudy's mother---Michael's ex-wife (Ann Harding)---shows up as well?  These are the questions that play out in this very sweet little film.

According to Robert Osborne, when this film was originally being made, Frank Capra was going to direct it; however, early on, he heard about another script---the beloved It's a Wonderful Life---and he chose to direct that film instead, selling his rights to It Happened on Fifth Avenue to Roy Del Ruth.  In true It's a Wonderful Life style, though, It Happened on Fifth Avenue also features a beautiful line about friendship...  "To be without friends is a serious form of poverty." 

This sweet film is on TCM's Christmas Day schedule---Friday, December 25th at 6:00 p.m. (ET), so if you'd like to see it (and I definitely recommend it), be sure to set your DVR.  It's also TCM's lineup earlier in the month---Sunday, December 20th, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

Happy viewing!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I'll Be Seeing You (1944)

My husband and I began our holiday viewing last week, and the first film on this year's "must watch" list was 1944's I'll Be Seeing You.  This movie is one of my 25 all-time favorites, and though I've reviewed it here before, that was back in 2011---the first year of They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To's life; therefore, I'm going to re-run that article, as I think the Christmastime setting (including a singing of "O, Come, All Ye Faithful")  makes this a perfect movie to add to your holiday viewing schedule.

A touching wartime romantic drama, I'll Be Seeing You stars Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten, with Tom Tully, the always-delightful Spring Byington, and a teenaged Shirley Temple taking on supporting roles.  Directed by William Dieterle, this charming film just might bring a mist to your eye.

The story is about Mary Marshall (Ginger), who is on furlough from a women's prison. (You'll find out during the movie why she was sent to prison.) While on a train traveling to visit her aunt, uncle, and cousin for Christmas, she meets Zachary Morgan (Joseph Cotten), a handsome soldier who has recently left an Army hospital, where he was being treated for the effects of what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Mary and Zach both disembark the train at the same stop, and upon Zach's request, Mary gives him her uncle's telephone number.  They begin spending time together and soon fall in love. However, since Zach's emotional state is still quite tenuous, Mary doesn't tell him that she's been in prison and will soon be going back.  And with Zach working through his own personal demons, can there possibly be a future for these two hurting souls?

I'll Be Seeing You is a sweet and tender movie, and although it doesn't bring huge sobs, it definitely gets me misty-eyed a couple of times.  I think all hopeless romantics will love it.  With its Christmastime setting, it's a lovely film to watch this time of year.  Out on DVD, it should be quite easy to track down; plus, it's on TCM's schedule twice this month---Friday, December 18th at 8:00 p.m. and Friday, December 25th, at 12:45 p.m. (ET). 

Happy viewing!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Big Screen Happenings

Nearly eighteen months!  That's how long it's been since I've written anything classic film-related here at They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To. Although I considered abandoning this film blog and converting it to a "life" blog (and did so for three days), in the end, I decided to keep this site devoted to nothing but those great oldie goldie films of yesteryear.

There haven't been a lot of classic film happenings in my life in 2015.  I did manage to catch Double Indemnity on the big screen back in June; it was a wonderful experience, and I'm hopeful that 2016 will bring more such opportunities into my life.

The week after Thanksgiving, for the fourth year in a row, I'll be watching White Christmas on the big screen of Boise's beautiful (and historic) Egyptian Theatre.  Sharing this fun film together is a Christmas tradition for my daughter and me; to be honest, it wouldn't seem like Christmas without Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and Vera-Ellen. She and I used to watch White Christmas from our DVD copy, but ever since 2012, it's been showing at the Egyptian as part of Boise Classic Movies' Christmas film series.

I've recently discovered that Fathom Events is putting on a big screen showing of Roman Holiday November 29th through December 1st.  Given that that adorable film is the one which began my love affair with the classics, I'm pretty sure I'll be in the audience one of those days.  Check HERE to see if it is playing in a theatre in your city.

What about y'all?  What classic films have you been able to catch on the big screen lately?