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Friday
Apr122019

Howard Keel Centennial: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

We're celebrating music man Howard Keel's centennial this week. Here's Lynn Lee...

In many ways, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) marked the peak of Keel’s MGM career, coming after his breakout role in Annie, Get Your Gun and his star turns in Showboat and the less-successful but still-classic Kiss Me, Kate!  Keel’s film career would fade in the years that followed, although he continued to enjoy success on the stage and in later life would find TV fame with his role on “Dallas.”  It was Seven Brides, though, that captured Keel in his screen prime as an appealing and charismatic musical actor who managed to make a problematic character (to say the least) surprisingly compelling.

Full disclosure: Seven Brides was one of my favorite movies growing up, and remains one of my all-time favorite musicals.  As a young child I loved it even more than West Side Story and The Sound of Music because it felt like a happier movie than the other two...

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Monday
Apr012019

50th Anniversary: Bob Fosse's "Sweet Charity"

by Eric Blume

Fifty years ago today, audiences saw their first Bob Fosse film:  Sweet Charity, the Cy Coleman/Dorothy Fields musical for which he won the Tony for Best Choreography three years earlier.  It’s fascinating to look back at this movie five decades later to see all the seeds that Fosse later brought to fruition in his subsequent films...

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Monday
Mar112019

25th Anniversary: "Four Weddings and a Funeral"

by Deborah Lipp

Four Weddings and a Funeral turns 25 today. This is probably not also the number of times I’ve seen it, but it might be. I’m sure if you add the times Professor Spouse and I have each seen it, we exceed that number.  To say, therefore, that this is a beloved movie is a ridiculous understatement.

Here’s what we’re going to cover after the jump to celebrate its birthday...

  • Four Weddings is highly quotable
  • It features the best use of "fuck," and its variations, this side of Get Shorty
  • Screenwriter Richard Curtis excels at movies that are kind-heartd and generous
  • Four Weddings isn't perfect, but I will teach you the trick of making it perfect

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Saturday
Mar092019

Jennifer Jones Centennial: "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing"

Reader Request: You voted on which Jennifer Jones films we had to write about for her centennial and this was your top choice. So it's your fault, then.

One of the tag lines reads...

In each other's arms they found a love that defied 5,000 years of tradition!

'Defying tradition? But what's more traditional than Hollywood casting white stars in Asian roles?' he said sarcastically. Figured we should get this out of the way upfront and then try to ignore it: Jennifer Jones's last Oscar nomination came for playing Han Suyin, a biracial doctor, who falls for Mark Elliott, an American foreign correspondent (William Holden) in Hong Kong...

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Wednesday
Mar062019

Jennifer Jones Centennial: "Indiscretions of an American Wife"

We're celebrating Jennifer Jones's centennial. By your request (you voted on which two movies we'd cover), here's Nathaniel R...

Your viewing assignment should you choose to accept it, and you really should, is Vittorio de Sica's Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953), a floridly emotional 65 minute drama (you read that right) in which a very thirsty Jennifer Jones engages in some illicit behavior because what else can you do when confronted with the beauty of Montgomery Clift in the 1950s?

Though 1953 was arguably Monty's peak (he also starred in Hitchcock's I Confess! and the Best Picture winner From Here to Eternity that year), this melodrama from the Italian master Vittorio de Sica is Jennifer Jones's film from fussy indecisive start to farewell heartbreak finish...

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Wednesday
Mar062019

Soundtracking: "Watchmen"

by Chris Feil

Ten years on and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is remembered as a overly loyal misfire. But originally our hopes were sky high for this adaptation, a long-awaited superhero take for adults sourced from one of the most lauded tomes in graphic novel history. Maybe when it arrives this year, Damon Lindelof’s incoming HBO “continuation” series can satisfy our passion for Alan Moore’s original creation - however unlikely it is that is satisfies Moore himself.

Perhaps the single thing that set the film up for failure was the very one that made us think Snyder had pulled off the impossible: it’s stunning teaser trailer set to The Smashing Pumpkins’ “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning”. It was one of the best teasers of an era when that still mattered, and we fans went crazy. But ultimately the song choice was writing checks musically that the film itself couldn’t cash...

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