Last Call Holiday Films: The Bishop’s Wife

The Bishop's Wife

In all honesty, I think this film is somewhat weird. But it’s Carey Grant, so that makes up for things. The Bishop’s Wife is my second pick for a last-call holiday film because it’s a peculiar look into the lives of a dysfunctional faith-focused family that requires the help of  an angel to get things back on track… (This theme may turn up again!)

The story revolves around an Episcopal Bishop, played by David Niven, who has been working for months on the plans for an elaborate new cathedral which he hopes will be paid for primarily by a wealthy, stubborn widow. In the process, he slips into work-a-holic behaviors and stops giving his wife and child the attention they need and deserve, especially at Christmas time. Enter Dudley, (Carey Grant) an angel sent to wake Niven’s character to the reality that his family is more important than his work. He starts showing the Bishop’s wife Julia, played by Loretta Young, a fantastic time – ice skating, shopping, partaking in snowball fights – sparking jealousy in her husband, and a sudden realization he may be missing out.

The Bishop's Wife

The Bishop's Wife

Perhaps the best thing about this film is that it deals with religious side of Christmas in a completely relatable and non-preachy manner.  Factor in Carey Grant’s charm, played to perfection (mainly because he is perfect) and I mean, what’s not to love? What overlooked housewife wouldn’t be encouraged by Carey Grant’s delightful attention? That’s right, none.

The Bishop's WifeIf you’re looking for a slightly different holiday film, complete with a truly delightful ice-skating scene, then The Bishop’s Wife is what you want!

Watch The Bishop’s Wife

 

Last Call Holiday Films: Christmas in Connecticut

“All my life I promised myself a mink coat. You know, Felix, it’s very important to keep promises, especially to yourself.” – Elizabeth Lane

Christmas in Connecticut

As we just have a few more days of December (and 2016) I’ve decided to finish things off with a daily holiday film. Over the next 4 days, I’ll share my must-see last-call holiday films – You simply cannot end the holiday season without seeing them! First up: Christmas in Connecticut.

Christmas in Connecticut is a brilliant holiday film starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan in which a lifestyle magazine writer, who has lied about being the perfect housewife, must try to cover her deception when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional family Christmas.  Stanwyck’s character comes across like Martha Stewart in her column, but in reality she’s a single New Yorker, who can’t cook and lives in a one room apartment without even so much as a window sill.

Christmas in Connecticut

Farm-life shenanigans ensue when, for the sake of her job, she agrees to marry a dull architect who happens to have a farm in Connecticut. The stage is set, complete with a neighbor’s baby to pose as her own, and her good friend and master chef, Felix, by her side to handle the cooking. It seems like she just may pull off the facade, until she falls head over heels for the war hero, Morgan.

Christmas in Connecticut

I love how this film takes a completely unique turn on the holiday genre. It’s more wacky than warm and fuzzy. More hilarious than heartwarming. #ScrewballComedy. Plus it’s Barbara and can we all just agree right now, that woman is simply the best! She makes the undomestic, working woman of the 1940’s appear cool, when society probably wouldn’t have wanted it that way. I adore everything about her and her performance in this charming film!

Christmas in Connecticut

If you haven’t seen it, be sure to put this at the top of your “last call holiday film” watchlist!

Watch Christmas in Connecticut

 

Movie Monday: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Can we get back to politics please?

Actually, I’d rather not.  This election has been so astonishingly disgraceful, it’s hard to watch the events unfold and not feel as though our democracy is on the verge of falling into oblivion.  But whenever I feel my faith in the American experiment begin to wane, I turn on Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring James Stewart, Claude Rains, and my all-time favorite leading lady, Jean Arthur.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The first time I saw this film was actually in my 8th grade American history class… It’s the only memorable thing from that class.  But I do remember thinking, even back then, “This film is amazing,” and I had never been so transfixed by the concept of American politics.  This film ignited an interest I didn’t know I could have in our national history.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

There are few films that get to the heart of so-called American ideals in quite such a beautiful and entertaining way.  Through the eyes of an American history expert and Junior Senator, Jefferson Smith (Stewart) appointed, with the intent from his colleagues, to be nothing more than a seat-filling-stooge, the film exposes corruption in Washington DC, the Senate, and the political system at the time…. Even though the film was released in  the banner film year of 1939, it remains remarkably relevant today.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Jefferson Smith has his ideals and beliefs shattered when he tries to stand up to a bill loaded with graft.  He thinks he’s finished, and is about to high-tail it home, but with the counseling of his wise-cracking secretary Saunders (Arthur) he launches a filibuster brimming with enough constitutional coolness to defeat the “big bad Taylor machine,” even if it nearly kills him.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

This film is near perfect.  Actually, scratch that, I think it is perfect.  And any American or American resident feeling disillusioned with our political system should give it a watch.  You’ll feel empowered, proud, and like your living your life “like you just came out of a tunnel.”

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Watch it here

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Classic TV Tuesday – The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Well it’s you girl and you should know it, with each smile and every little movement you show it…

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Like millions of others, absolutely adore The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I came to it also like many others, after watching every single episode of The Dick Van Dyke show and finding myself wanting more MTM.

What I honestly didn’t expect when I first watch season one, was that the supporting characters would be so charming, funny and engaging.  What can I say? I had no idea that Rhoda, Phylis, Ted Baxter, Murray, and Mr. Grant would quickly endear themselves to me, just as they had done to Mary.  They are written with such originality and yet remain relatable.   Not to mention, the performances of the aforementioned characters are nothing short of brilliant, and the style and wit to which they are played have clearly had such tremendous influence on television comedy and beyond.  (I mean, let’s be real, Will Ferrel’s Anchor Man is essentially a dialed up impression of Ted Knight’s Ted Baxter!)

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore Show

The other element that took me by surprise was how, even though show is set in the 1970’s, with all the fantastic clothes and decor for which the decade is known, I still found the context of many of the episodes completely relevant today.  While the show is clearly set in a place and time, it’s not dated.  Not really.  I love that Mary lives in a tiny studio apartment, and that Rhoda struggles with her self-image and weight, while being incredibly witty in her self-deprecating humor.  I love the obtuse, passive aggression of Phylis and the pressure all of these women feel when it comes to their roles in society.  While sure, women have come a long way for equal rights since the 1st Season of MTM, there is plenty about Mary’s work life that I can totally relate to, as well as how, she’s met with continual questioning about her lifestyle choices.  Yep, totally get that.

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore Show

The other great thing about The Mary Tyler Moore Show? It’s just plain funny.  I can put it on after coming home from work while I start working on the dinner and it can always make me laugh.  That’s why it’s my Classic TV Tuesday pick, that, and I just plain adore the show!  I am currently about halfway through season 5 of the 7 seasons, but am taking my time in finishing the series… I want to savor it rather than binge!

Mary Tyler Moore Show Laughing

Watch Season One Here!

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Having a Heatwave like the Seven Year Itch!

Where’s Marilyn Monroe when you need her?

For that matter, where’s Sonny Tufts?  The Seven Year Itch is one of my favorite films to watch when the temperature soars; the stuffy heat of my apartment adds a layer of reality you see.  It’s times like these when I can understand, 100%, how the extreme heat can make one want to put one’s underwear in the ice box, befriend someone just for the use of his air-conditioner, and stand over subway grates in a dress to feel a breeze, devil may care!  

Seven Year Itch - Subway Grates

This hilarious work from director Billy Wilder, tells the story of faithful husband Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) who experiences his first feelings of extra-marital lust when his wife and son go out of town for the summer.   Ewell stays behind in New York to work, and amidst the sweltering summer heat, he meets his beautiful, blonde, upstairs neighbor, played to ditsy perfection by Marilyn Monroe.

“Hey, did you ever try dunking a potato chip in champagne? It’s real crazy!” – The Girl (Monroe)

Seven Year Itch - Potato Chips

While Ewell may think there’s chemistry brewing, all of his fantasies remain in his head, and Monroe comes out looking the least ditsy of the bunch!  I have never been too much of a Marilyn fan, but the older I get, and the more of her films I see, the more I am impressed with her brilliant comedic timing and style.  She’s kind of a #GirlBoss in her own unique way.

The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch is one of those iconic films, filled with lots of little movie moments you’re sure to recognize.  If you’ve never seen it, take this current heatwave to treat yourself to this perfect summer slice of classic comedy!

Watch it HERE

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Father’s Day Favorite Films

When your Dad is a former Disney actor, it’s easy to come up with the perfect films to watch on Father’s Day!  My dad had a pretty robust acting career from the time he was about 6 years old until well into his 20’s, which included a lot of television work and Disney films.  Even though it’s completely self indulgent to say that these are the best classic films to watch on Father’s Day simply because MY dad is in them,  I am just going to go ahead and just go there, cause I can’t think of a better day to highlight some of my Dad’s most endearing on-screen work!

Michael McGreevey Medfield College Trilogy

Medfield College Trilogy Posters.jpg

My favorite films featuring my Dad are the Medfield College or “Dexter Reilly” films as they are sometimes called.  This trilogy of screwball comedies all star Kurt Russel as a brainy, albeit somewhat slow to realize what’s going on, college student keenly interested in science.  My dad played Russell’s goofy best friend, Richard Schuyler in all three pictures.  The trilogy includes The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972; my personal favorite) and Strongest Man in the World (1975).  While each is slightly more silly and bizarre than the last, there is no denying the Medfield College gang is pretty awesome if you’re in the mood for some “mind-smushing-entertainment,” as Millie from Classic Forever calls it.  And plus, they are all fun, wholesome, and appeal to all ages.  Click the titles above to watch the films on Amazon!

Michael McGreevey Medfield College Trilogy

Michael McGreevey Medfield College Trilogy

Michael McGreevey Medfield College Trilogy

Michael McGreevey Medfield College Trilogy

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

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