Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Period Drama Tag

Once again I must apologise for my long absence. The reason is the season (wow, I'm a poet today). At this time of year I identify a lot with bears as I too feel an urge to go into hibernation for the winter.

Hamlette tagged me with a period drama tag, and that was just the enticement I needed to get out from my blogging hibernation, at least for long enough to write this post;)

1. What's your favorite Period Drama movie? 

The Young Victoria, no doubt! That is  such a sweet and beautiful movie with brilliant actors!
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2. What's your favorite Period Drama series? 

Emma (2009)! I love every minute of it!

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3. Which Period Drama do you dislike the most?

I really didn't like the 1986 version of Northanger Abbey. It was just disturbing and all wrong.

4. Anne of Green Gables or Little Dorrit? 

Anne, of course! (I haven't actually watched Little Dorrit, but even if I had my answer would remain the same)

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5. Your favorite Period Drama dresses? 

Now, this ones a little harder... The list is very long, but I shall try to confine myself to a few:)
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Emma (2009)
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Agent Carter
The Young Victoria
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6. Who's your favorite Period Drama character? (Okay, pick at least five) 

1. Elizabeth Bennet - do I really need an explanation?

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2. Peggy Carter - she is just perfection - independent, strong and with a wardrobe to die for.
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3. Henry Tilney - he is sweet and funny and perfect in every way.

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4. Anne Shirley - imaginative, dreamy and my fictional bosom friend

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(I know the question said to pick 5, but my brain short circuited and I simply can not think of a fifth one)

7. If you could join a royal ball, which dress would you wear? (Pick a Period Drama dress) 

This was so hard! But in the end I went with this dreamy Cinderella dress (from an adaption of Cinderella no less).
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8. What's your favorite Jane Austen movie? 

As we're talking strictly of movies, I'm gonna go with Sense & Sensibility (1995). I've always loved how subtly they're incorporating all the humour. And the casting was brilliant!

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9. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife

I don't particularly care for Downton Abbey and I haven't watched Call The Midwife, so I'll say neither.

10. Sybil Crawley, Jenny Lee, Emma Woodhouse or Marian of Knighton?

I don't know Sybil Crawley and Jenny Lee, and I like the 2 remaining almost equally. But for the sake of choosing one (and because I recently watched Emma) I'll go with Emma Woodhouse.

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11. Which couples of a Period Drama do you like the most? (Pick at least four) 

Margaret & Mr Thornton - what can I say to express the perfection that is this couple? I think what I like the most about them is that as they grow to really know each other love grows as well.
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Anne & Gilbert - no 2 persons were ever as destined for another as Anne and Gilbert. And though it took Anne a while to realise that, Gilbert were always there for her.

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Emma & Mr Knightley - what I particularly like about Emma and Mr Knightley is that they've known each other forever and thus have a deep understanding and respect for each other. And then they realise they are in love, and I just can't properly articulate how much I love them as a couple.

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Queen Victoria & Albert - another couple where the key words are patience and longing. Their whole courtship was so sweet and innocent. And the length of it made it  all the more fulfilling when they finally got married.

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12. And last, which Period Drama villain do you like the most?

The villains I like are usually the ones who are kind of in a grey area, but if I should pick one who is definitely a villain it must be Sir Guy of Gisborne from BBC's Robin Hood. 
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This was fun!
Nothing beats reminiscing about period dramas:)

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A Hollywood Celebration Link-Up

This has been a truly enjoyable week!
And I am so happy to see how many of you have joined in on the celebration!

There has been so many lovely reviews to read and I have discovered so many movies I had never heard about prior to this week. So I would consider the celebration a complete success.
Now I just have to find the time to watch all the movies;)

As promised here is a link up of all the movies there's been reviewed this week:

National Velvet (1944) by MovieCritic
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954) by Livia Rachelle
State Fair (1945) by Rose
Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962) by Cordy
The Reluctant Debutante (1958) by Rilla Blythe
A Friendly Persuasion (1956) by Livia Rachelle
An Affair To Remember (1957) by The Elf
The Thin Man (1934) by Rose
The Night Of The Hunter (1955) and Cape Fear (1962) by Quiggy
Destry Rides Again (1939) by Hamlette
To Catch A Thief (1955) by Rose
The Wizard Of Oz (1939) by Meredith
An American In Paris (1951) by MovieCritic
It's A Wonderful Life (1946) by Meredith

Furthermore Hamlette also created a fun game for the week. You can check it out here

I want to send a big thank you to all those of you who participated in this celebration either by writing a review or commenting. You made the week unforgettable!

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Monday, 7 November 2016

The Classic Hollywood Screencap Game - Answers

Here are the long awaited answers for the screencap game:

1. North By Northwest (1959)
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2. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
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3. To Have And Have Not (1944)
Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart in To have and have not (Howard Hawks, 1944):

4. Roman Holiday (1953)
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5. Casablanca (1942)
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6. Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
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7. Swing Time (1936)
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8. The Sound Of Music (1965)
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9. West Side Story (1961)
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10. The Great Escape (1963)
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And here's the scores:

Hamlette..90 points
Livia Rachelle..80 points
Cordy..70 points
MovieCritic..60 points
Classic Girl..50 points
Abby P..50 points
Meredith..40 points
Naomi Sarah..40 points
Miss March..30 points

Honorary mentions:  I made my mom and my brother take the game as a sort of trial run and they respectively scored 80 and 60 points.

Hope you had fun!!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

To Catch A Thief (1955)

This is a movie of firsts for me, being both my first Alfred Hitchcock movie and my first Cary Grant movie - safe to say it wasn't my last.

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First, the plot:

When a string of jewel thefts happens at the French Riviera the police has only one suspect: the former cat burglar John Robie. He's actually innocent but when no one believes him, he only has one way to prove it: finding and catching the copy cat thief. 
With some help from an insurance agent he finds out which of the many tourists currently at the Riviera has the most expensive piece of jewelry, the widow Jessie Stevens and her daughter Frances, and under an assumed name he strikes up a friendship with them. 
His mission, however, meets many complications along the way, one of them being Frances seeing right through his cover and taking a marked interest in him. 

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So, there's a lot to like about this movie, but the lovely acting of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly is my favourite thing. Grant's portrayal of the retired thief parading as a playboy and Kelly's portrayal of the American heiress who is more than what she seems on the surface, are both stellar. However, it's in their scenes together that they really shine! Their interactions are full of witty banter, casual flirting and ambiguous conversations that are all very entertaining to watch. 

I also really like the pacing of the plot and the rising suspense - Hitchcocks's way of making movies just strikes a cord with me. 

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Another thing I must mention is the gorgeous scenery of the movie. It's shot in southern France and the many views and vistas are simply a treat for the eyes.
As is Grace Kelly's wardrobe (did you notice the smooth transition). She wears such nice pastel coloured dresses. And her ballgowns are truly magnificent.

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Now nothing is left but the conclusion of it all: I found this movie very enjoyable, and if you like Hitchcock-movies with Cary Grant and a plot with lots of suspense but yet with room for a romance with Grace Kelly, you will enjoy it too.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Thin Man (1934)

Here comes a review of another favourite of mine and a true classic: The Thin Man.
As I can't think of any proper introduction remarks, I'll just dive straight into the plot:

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When the scientist Wynant disappears after a secret business trip, his worried daughter asks the retired detective Nick Charles for help. He and his wife, Nora are on vacation and initially he isn't interested in taking the case, but when Wynant's secretary is suddenly murdered and all evidence is pointing to Wynant as the murderer Nick sets out to solve the mystery.

Now, this movie is a delightful mix between a mystery and a comedy. But what makes it worthwhile is definitely the lovely duo William Powell and Myrna Loy in the roles of Nick and Nora. This was actually their very first movie together, and the chemistry between them was so great they went and made 13 more movies together and today they are considered one of Hollywood's most iconic pairings.

                                     Bill Powell, Maureen O’Sullivan, Myrna Loy: The Thin Man (1934)

Every time they interact they steal the entire scene with their many sarcastic comments, witty barbs and memorable one-liners. Their chemistry on screen is really remarkable, and I admit they are the main reason for every rewatching:)

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They are not the only memorable characters, though. The movie is filled with a variety of hilarious characters, one more crazy than the next.
My favourite is the son of the missing scientist (Gilbert) a young man who is very well read and eager to contribute with all his knowledge, but at the same time crazy and truly lacking tact. Let me show you an example (which also happen to be my favourite scene):

The situation is this: Wynant's daughter is terribly distressed that her father seems to be a murderer, and she lament over the possibility of her future children becoming murderers as well. In comes the brother with words of consolation:

G: You're wrong about all your children being murderers. Now, I've studied the Mendelian laws of inheritance and according to their findings only one out of four of your children will be a murderer. Now, the thing for you to do would be to just have three children.......No. No, that might not work..

Words of true comfort indeed;)

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Of course it's not all fun and games, there is a mystery to solve after all, and all the excitement is very nicely concluded in an elaborate dinner party scene where all the suspects are invited and the case carefully unrolled by Nick until the murderer is exposed.

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So, the conclusion is: if you like humorous mysteries in a classic 1930's setting and a couple with a most snarky and yet adorable relationship, this is a movie you must watch.

Have any of you seen this movie?
If yes, what is your favourite Nick and Nora moment?

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Reluctant Debutante (1958) Review - A Guest Post by Rilla Blythe

Hello! This is Rilla Blythe, the girl who sometimes comments on your blogs while hiding behind a rather pretentious pseudonym. Like most of you I have a warm place in my heart for old movies, and was quite excited when the lovely Rose invited me to participate in the event she is hosting. Thank you Rose for organizing such a fun Hollywood celebration and for letting me do this!


The Reluctant Debutante is one of my favorite movies. It just carries me to a happy, ridiculous but sweet atmosphere of balls and fun. It’s a charming, light movie with great acting and in my opinion does not fail to entertain. It’s one of those gloriously colorful and funny 50’s movies that I love to rewatch while curled up in a blanket and drinking tea that has way too much sugar in it. I was, as Mr. Collins would say, “uniformly charmed’’  with this movie when I was introduced to it.;) So without further ado, here is my review of The Reluctant Debutante.


Seventeen-year-old Jane Broadbent (Sandra Dee) moves to London during “the season” from New York to live with her father Lord (Jimmy) Broadbent (Rex Harrison) who recently remarried. Her fashionable stepmother, Shelia (Kay Kendall) is determined to have Jane “come out” after she learns that her gossip of a cousin, Mabel Claremont (Angela Lansbury) is debuting her own daughter too. So Jane is subjected to many lavish British balls, but meets two interesting young men at the very first one. David Fenner is the first of these. Rich and a Queen’s guard, he has the mental capacity of one of Bertie Wooster’s friends. But then the second young man appears.


David Parkson, though his profession is drumming with the band, charms both Shelia and Jimmy. And of course, Jane. She is now an utterly thrilled debutante. Dancing with such an intelligent, handsome young man is joy and we immediately see he is the one. (Of course he’s handsome—apparently he is half Italian. ;)) But then in sweeps Mabel, whose tongue, as Jimmy puts it, “runs on atomic energy.” She informs them that this young Parkson’s past may not be as spotless as would be hoped.


So thereafter Jane’s parents are determined he shall have nothing to do with their daughter. David Fenner, the inept scarecrow, is now Shelia’s sole hope for Jane. The young lady in question, however, and the other David manage to go out together a few times and inevitably fall in love. After some cheery twists, everyone lives happily ever after. I’m going to stop here since this review is going to be spoiler-free.:)


Things I liked/disliked about The Reluctant Debutante

1. Jane is a sweet, frank girl who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it, but honestly doesn’t have that much character in my opinion; maybe because I don’t get to know her that well. To know or understand a character in a movie, the audience needs several close-up shots or some little scenes with just them. That doesn’t happen here, but then it’s a comedy, so I guess it’s okay.

2. Another thing I didn’t like at first was that she and David Parkson just seem to have crushes on each other, instead of real love. But then, it’s more of a comedy, not a romance.  Kay Kendall and Rex Harrison playing these hilarious parents is more entertaining than watching the usual romance play out. (Also, obviously because they were simply bigger stars.) Which brings me to the best part. :)

3. Jimmy and Shelia/ Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall. These two are simply the double cherry on the sundae. ;) Before I watched this movie, I had only seen Rex Harrison in Dr. Doolittle (which is quite a bizarre movie) and My Fair Lady. Now in both of those, as I’m sure you know, he’s an utter bear, especially in the latter where most of the time he goes about calling people presumptuous insects and squashed cabbage leaves. It was a pleasant surprise to see him acting a normal human being who treated others without contempt or indifference. :) Also, I found out they were a real life married couple during the production of this film! Sadly, she died of leukemia the next year. Enough of this little tangent though. :) Jimmy and Shelia are utterly delightful. They’re both elegant and charming yet they do the wackiest things such as listen unashamedly at doors (when Jane brings David Parkson over) and yelp when they were startled. I liked how we see a lot of the movie from their perspective, because they are such fun, entertaining characters. I just love them. :)


4. The Broadbents’ apartment! Shelia redecorated his home from the cellar to the dome    I loved the elegant architecture in their home and all the decorations. (They also have this hall with a rounded ceiling—it made me think of Bag End.) I mean, look at these bookshelves :)


Anyway, I hope I’ve somewhat sparked your interest in The Reluctant Debutante! This is a charming, light movie with with great acting. If you enjoy comedy, romance, lovely sets and costumes, and Rex Harrison playing someone who let a woman in his life, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.


Have you seen The Reluctant Debutante? If so, what are your thoughts?
If not, are you interested in watching it? I’m sorry about the very amateur-quality review—it’s the first time I’ve done this.:)

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

State Fair (1945)

I have been wanting to write a proper review of this movie for ages now, and now the time has finally come!
But before I get carried away, let me start by telling you the plot.

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The Frake family is going to the annual state fair and each member of the family has different expectations. Abel Frake is certain that his prize hog will win the grand award, his wife, Melissa, has high hopes of winning a prize for her pickles and mincemeat, their son Wayne wants to get back at the owner of the ring tossing booth who ridiculed him last year, and their daughter, Margy, longs to experience something new and different to cure her melancholy mood.

When they arrive at the fair, Wayne's goal is quickly accomplished, but at the same time he meets Emily, a big city girl who is a singer with the band, and falls head over heels for her.
Margy also meets a charming stranger at the roller coaster, the reporter Pat, who suggests that they spend some time together at the fair.

Of course when everything seems to be going perfect both couples meet complications and difficulties, and it is with lots of new experiences that the family returns home after the fair.

What do you know, I managed to outline the entire plot without spoiling the ending. That is of course deliberate, for I want you to watch the movie for yourselves.

                        Image result for state fair 1945

The first time I watched the movie, I wouldn't have imagined that it would come to be one of my favourite movies of all time.

But isn't it funny that the thing I disliked on first watching it is one of the things I love about it today?
Yes, I'm talking about the simplicity of the plot!
I think those of you who have seen the movie can agree that nothing much happens; they go to the fair, have fun, meet people and go home.
But from start to finish the plot is very sweet and idyllic, showing an idealised version of ordinary rural lives. And when you think of the time that the movie was made (1945), this kind of movie would be exactly what many Americans would need to watch - a reminder of what normal life once was and hopefully soon would be again.
And I think that's why I love i so much now and never tire of it (I've watched it 3 times in the last month and it never gets dull).

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A second thing I love is the clothes! Everybody wear such gorgeous clothes! Even the extras wear dresses in all kinds of lovely patters. And Margy's wardrobe is something else! I did a whole post on her many delicious outfits here.
And it's not just the clothes, the hairstyle are brilliant too! And for a 1940's aficionado as myself, watching this movie is an endless source of inspiration and source material.

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Of course the music should also be mentioned, it is a musical after all!
Although it is not a typical musical of the time, I would describe it more as a movie with songs in it. In the beginning there are a few traditional musical numbers but later on most them are songs sung on a stage by the resident band. But they are definitely good songs! I can't pick a single favourite song, for all of them has been favourites in turn, so suffice to say; I love them all!

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Before I end this I should also mention the actors.
Jeanne Crain is just perfect as the young country girl Margy, she is so innocent and sweet and beautiful and just embodies everything good about a stereotype 1940's actress.
And Dana Andrews does a perfect job of portraying the dashing and worldly fellow who completely captures the heart of the audience.

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So all in all, this is a really light and sweet movie with lots of romance and pretty dresses, and if you like the 1940's or musicals or feel good movies that make you nostalgic, you should definitely try this one.

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