Hidden Gems: Goodbye Again (1961)

goodbyeagain
source: United Artists

Picture it, Paris 1961.

The wind is cool, the coffee is warm and bitter, and you’re a businesswoman falling in love with the son of one of your clients who is 15 years younger than you.

Cute? Yes!

Difficult? Maybe.

Taboo? In 1961, it absolutely is.

Directed by Anatole Litvak (try saying that three times in succession) and co-starring Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, and Yves Montand, the film – based on the French novel Amiez Vous- Brahms? tells the story of a 40-year-old woman who takes on a younger lover to spite her longtime boyfriend who also has a penchant for affairs.

It’s an interesting film, in that two wrongs don’t make a right, but in this movie, it’s excusable.

Is infidelity justifiable (rewardable, even) when both parties partake in it? In Goodbye Again‘s case, Litvak certainly implies.

Goodbye Again 1961 1
source: United Artists

Frustrated by the fact that her boyfriend of 5 years won’t propose to her and his incessant affairs, Paula Tessier (played by Bergman) takes cautiously takes on a younger lover, hoping to free herself from the mental and emotional prison that’s been hounding her for years.

What makes this picture fascinating is that her beau, Roger (played by Montand) is very open about his affairs, but it doesn’t seem to trouble Paula.

Roger seems like the kind of guy to keep his options open, therefore he sees taking on another lover as nothing serious. Paula, on the other hand, is obviously hurt by this, but she dutifully keeps her mouth shut, only venting to her maid Gaby (played by Uta Taeger.)

When she sees the chance to “get back” at Roger, she’s hesitant, but eventually, she falls prey to her younger lover’s advances.

Phillip Van Der Besh (played by Anthony Perkins) is an attentive, charming and obsessive young man who worships the ground she walks one. At first, she takes his advances in stride, but as the film progresses and Roger shows no signs of slowing down his affairs, Paula’s feeling towards both men become more convoluted.

Goodbye-Again-1961-2
source: United Artists

This, “love rectangle” goes on for a couple of weeks until Roger goes on a business trip and by this point, Paula’s already made up her mind. Sick and tired of her boyfriend’s lack of attention and consideration for her feelings, she allows Phillip to move in with her.

Hurray, for true love!

Except, Roger takes offense to being cuckolded and proceeds to call up every woman he’s ever laid eyes and sleeps with them, hoping – praying, even to forget about heartbreak he just experienced.

While he does this, Paula remains unbothered, happily in love/lust with her newest boyfriend.

Roger realizes that he loves and misses Paula and finally, finally, decides to propose to her, begging for forgiveness. Stupidly, she takes him back and accepts his proposal. Naturally, this leaves Phillip heartbroken and confused.

Running from her apartment, by the time the movie ends, with Phillip is only a memory in Paula’s fickle mind and Roger continuing his playboy lifestyle.


Goodbye Again is your typical French movie, but with an “American” (I use that term loosely) cast. Loaded with angst, romance, and sensuality the picture plays out like a warm tea that soothes your throat after a cold day.

Bergman, stunning as usual, was fantastic in her starring role. She carried her heart on her sleeve, unfortunately, in the end, she ended up being scorned- again.

Goodbye Again 1961 3
source: United Artists

Anthony Perkins played the perfect “Dustin Hoffman” to Bergman‘s Anne Bancroft. He was calm, cool, collected, and petulant. His character, Phillip seemed like a reasonable guy. All he wanted to do was be the man he knew he could be for Paula, but it appeared she couldn’t let go of her comfort zone, even if Roger truly didn’t love her.

I supposed that’s the sad thing about this film.

Roger wanted the comfort of Paula without all of the commitment. Phillip wanted to take care of her like a proper lover, but Paula can’t get over the age gap.

In the end, insecurity wins out.

Eh, C’est la vie.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best of M-G-M: Sunday in New York (1963)

Sunday in New York
source: MGM

The 1960s were a complex time for Jane Fonda, to say the least.

She went from being the squeaky-clean daughter of an American film legend to being cemented as the country’s resident sex symbol by the time decade ended. But, before Vadim, Barbarellaand the unbridled activism, there was Jane Fonda: the ingenue.

Ahhh, yes. We all remember that Jane. 

The perpetual virgin who was hesitant to sleep with a man she didn’t love; the dreaded stereotype.

Of course, this was a noble stance to take, but in the context of romantic pictures, it makes for hilarious situational comedy. Because of this, Jane had the tendency to make multiple versions of the same film.

Girl meets boy, boy loves girl; boy wants to take things a bit faster than the girl was anticipating, girl gets nervous and runs away. Boy gets offended and pursues her even harder until girl relents or she’s talked into it by an older brother or a friend.

Fonda’s early 60s career was littered with movies like this. They were your usual romantic comedies filled with rudimentary plot points that you tend to forget about halfway through the movie – nothing truly notable.

Sunday in New York 2
source: MGM

One of the less bothersome and perhaps the more charming films during those years is the sex romp Sunday in New York.

Adapted from the Norman Krasna screenplay of the same name, the film tells the story of wealthy 22-year-old music critic Eileen Taylor and her struggles to come to terms with her sexuality, fueled by a break up with her fianceé.

Eileen hopes to get her mind off of the situation by taking a Greyhound down from Albany to New York City, wanting to drown her sorrows in alcohol with her older brother Adam, played by Cliff Robertson.

Adam, on the other hand, has other ideas.

Instead of commiserating with his baby sister, he’s anticipating a love filled weekend with his modelesque girlfriend Mona, played by Jo Morrow.

When he isn’t neglecting his brotherly responsibilities by day, he flies jetliners by night, spending his off days smoking, boozing, and spending an inordinate amount of time with his girlfriend, primarily living the playboy lifestyle.

You can imagine the look of shock he had when Eileen unexpectedly dropped in for a weekend wanting a shoulder to cry on. This predicament forces Adam, who’s already on thin ice, to postpone his weekend tryst with Mona, much to her dismay.

Sunday in New York 3
source: MGM

Pushing aside more “immediate pleasures,” Adam gives his unbridled attention to his sister, hoping to punch the guy out get to the bottom of the situation.  When she tearfully explains that her finaceé dumped her for not “putting out” Adam’s male instinct kicks in.

“How dare he!”

Ironically, Adam was about to try the same spiel on his girlfriend before his baby sister waltz into his apartment, but that doesn’t matter. He thinks this is an abomination! No one treats his sister this way!

“Do as I say, not as I do,” right?

As Eileen emotionally implodes, Adam reassures her that not all men think that way. If she’s patient enough, her “knight and shining armor” will eventually find her and all of her tears will be in vain.

Albeit cringe-worthy, Adam’s words comfort Eileen enough for her to calm down and with more than enough time for him to make amends with Mona. With that, Adam rushes to the phone and begs her to meet him on his next flight out of NYC.

She agrees and with that, Adam bolts out of the door leaving Eileen alone with her tear stained cheeks and mangled emotions.

Sunday in New York 4
source: MGM

Being left alone for a few hours forces Eileen to re-evaluate her decisions. She thought about her brother words and how disingenuous they sounded coming from him. Eileen was aware that Adam lived the lifestyle he scolded her about.

This infuriated her, she didn’t want her older brother dictating her life. With that, Eileen took the matter into her own hands and sauntered onto the streets of Manhattan looking for a suitor who would indulge in her fantasy.

Adam, in the meantime, is trying, and failing, to win back his girlfriend’s affections. Due to a series of miscommunication about his plane schedule, Mona ultimately ends up boarding the wrong flight, making her even more irritated and dissatisfied.

Karma? Maybe. It sure seems that way.

Back on the street, Eileen awkwardly succeeds in picking up a suitor. Mike, played by Rod Taylor, is a tall, handsome, newspaperman with a knack for seeing right through people. Eileen brings him back to her brother’s apartment wanting to seduce him but fails when Mike quickly catches on to her drift.

Ashamed and flustered, Eileen has ANOTHER breakdown, forcing Mike to not only yell at her in frustration, but also rethink his life choices.

The latter part of his inner monologue kicks into overdrive when, surprisingly, Eileen’s ex fianceé, Russ played by Robert Culp, walks in on the pair in just their underwear (or in the classic movie sense, their robes.)

Russ returns triumphantly, taking Eileen in his arms and greeting Mike like he’s her brother. He apologizes for the way he treated her and begs for forgiveness, which leaves Eileen with no other choice but to accept his offer.

Sunday in New York 5
source: MGM

As if the situation can’t get any more interesting, Adam walks in a few moments later suspicious of the entire thing.

He knows who Russ is, but isn’t entirely sure why this strange man in a bathrobe in his apartment. He suspects why but waits until the situation escalates to voice his displeasure.

When it does, Adam is introduced as Mike’s co-pilot, ending Russ’s confusion, only enraging Adam even further.

Later that night, the trio go out to eat where the tensions rise to unparalleled degrees.

When Russ excuses himself to go the restroom, Adam takes this opportunity to swiftly punch Mike in the nose, shocking Eileen in the process.

Through the pain and humiliation, Mike comes to terms with his feelings for Eileen. He realized this during his introspective walk with her through Manhattan before she invited him back to her brother’s apartment. Even though she ultimately wanted to use him for selfish purposes, he had a soft spot for her, he took on the role of ‘protector’ which made him fall for her even harder.

When Russ comes back from the restroom and sees Mike doubled over in pain and Eileen tending to his wound, he uses context clues to figure out what’s going on and officially re-breaks his engagement with Eileen. In the final scene of the movie, Adam loosens his metaphorical grip on Eileen and “allows” her to continue to see Mike without any hassle.

Conclusion

Sunday in New York conclusion
source: MGM

Written right before the sexual revolution of the 1960s, Sunday in New York is just risque enough to keep the audience interested but also charming enough for the classic film purists.

Norman Krasna carefully crafted a romantic comedy that, strangely, feels very modern. Despite it being released in 1963, the rugged looks of Rod Taylor and the fresh-faced Fonda made for an interesting, if not very charming, couple. They bicker, argue, and inevitably makeup, all within the backdrop of the steel towers of Manhattan

Speaking of the leads, Taylor and Fonda did a fantastic job of portraying the three stages of Eileen and Mike’s relationship; first as potential love interests, then enemies, and eventually star-crossed lovers.

The supporting cast didn’t have much to do, but when they did, they knocked it out of the park. Praise is in order for Jo Morrow, Robert Culp, and of course the very handsome Cliff Robertson for doing such a respectable job with almost little to no screen time.


Sunday in New York is a lovely romantic comedy, that often gets overlooked for, flashier, more star-studded affairs. Films like this are one I live for. They aren’t well known, but they sure are movies that should be given more attention.

Food in Film Blogathon…

source
source: Warner Brothers

Most of my ventures into classic films either involve gangsters, showgirls, cabaret singers or comedians, not prison chain gangs.

So, when the movie I’m reviewing for this blogathon finished, I was rearing and ready to go shovel some dirt and start an uprising (preferably both.)

When I originally viewed Cool Hand Luke, I was astounded at how gritty and real it felt. I grieved with each and every character, I understood the pain they were going through. I empathized with them – I couldn’t imagine how distressing it must have been, albeit they were criminals, working in conditions that, I must say, were 10 steps below human decency.

You can understand my relief when, halfway through the movie, director Stuart Rosenberg decided to inject a bit of life into an otherwise upsetting series of events.

Eggs, it had to be hardboiled eggs.

I abhor them, I loathe them. I hate them more than okra (and that’s saying something; it’s the texture folks!)

Cool Hand Paul
“The look I give someone when they offer me eggs…” source: Warner Bros.

When Luke (played by everyone’s favorite salad dressing entrepreneur Paul Newman) stupidly accepts a dare that he could inhale eat 50 eggs in an hour, I just about gagged.

I sat there as I watch him struggle to get every last bite of those wretched little creatures down his esophagus and to his stomach. At one point some of his fellow prisoners – one of which played by George Kennedy, helps him by using various techniques to “stretch his belly.”

Luckily for me, this scene only lasted for a couple of minutes, but alas the damage was done…….until I snooped around on the internet and educated myself on the skills of making ‘movie magic.’

Turns out Paul Newman never swallowed an egg. Apparently, a reporter asked him about that infamous scene and Newman claims that not once did an egg grace his tongue.

You can visualize my expression when I read this.

The scene looked so real, maybe it’s my naivety, but I would’ve like to think that Paul actually went through something as horrid as ingesting 50 eggs.

Perhaps, that scene was just another fabulous example of movie magic, I suppose.

Bravo, Bravo.

Cool Hand Paul 2
source: Warner Bros.

If you like to read more entries in this lovely blogathon, click: here.

 

Summer Movie Blogathon… The Parent Trap (1961)

The-Parent-Trap
source: Buena Vista Distribution

I’ve never been to summer camp as a kid.

I have been to a day camp however, but it’s nothing like what the twins in this movie get to experience.

I think that’s why The Parent Trap is the perfect summer film for me. I was never able to have the opportunity to stay up late with my friends, anticipating what we’re going to do the next day or go kayaking through the white river rapids of Colorado, so when I watch this film, I get to vicariously live through the mischievous adventures that these girls go on.

And boy, do they get into a sticky situation.

the parent trap
source: Buena Vista Distribution

Directed by David Swift and starring Hayley Mills, Maureen O’Hara (RIP) and Brian Keith, The Parent Trap is probably one of the most recognizable, unintentionally funny and heartwarming films I’ve ever seen.

If you’ve seen the movie, you probably know what happens in the story. The film follows the lives of twins named Sharon and Susan (both played by Hayley Mills) whose parents divorced when the pair were only a few months old. Naturally, with divorce, comes child custody. Sharon goes to live with her mother Maggie in Boston (played by Maureen O’Hara), while Susan hitched her wagon to her father, Mitch (played by Brian Keith) who lives in California.

14 years after they were separated, the twins ‘accidentally’ get reunited when friends introduce them at a summer getaway named Camp Inch.

At first, their personalities clash, seeing that one is a brash Bostonian while the other is a laid-back Californian. But, after a few days of really getting to know each other, they find that they have a lot more in common than they were first lead to believe.

The parent Trap 1961
source: Buena Vista Distribution

During those few weeks of getting acquainted, the twins hatch up a plan to switch places in an attempt to get their parents back together.

So, Susan (the twin with the longer hair) cuts it to make it look like Sharon’s style, and Sharon picks up Susan’s mannerisms. When they finally do get to each other’s houses, Sharon fears that their plan will go to ruin when she finds out that her father is planning on marrying a younger, money hungry, woman named Vicky Robinson (played by Joanna Barnes.)

To stop this from happening, Sharon calls Susan in Boston to tell her the news and to convince her mother to fly over to California to stop the wedding.

Surprisingly, Maggie isn’t too upset at the idea, and promptly takes the cross-country trip to The Golden State. Once Maggie and Susan arrive at Mitch’s house, the twins make it their goal to get their parents to experience the spark that initially attracted them to each other.

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source: Buena Vista Distribution

In the most heart touching scene in the movie, Susan and Sharon recreate the restaurant where their parents had first met. Slowly but surely, Mitch and Maggie gradually start to forget why they ever got divorced.

But, that all comes crashing down when they start fighting and squabbling over minor things, like Mitch’s fiancée, Vicky.  Understandably upset about the entire ordeal, Maggie buys a flight back to Boston.

The twins being twins, purposely dress up and act like the other so their parents wouldn’t know who is who, essentially delaying their mother’s flight home. To solve the issue, the girls give their parents an ultimatum: they’ll only reveal which twin is who when the four of them go on their annual family camping trip. Vicky finds out about this and tricks Maggie into staying home.

Maureen-OHara-and-Brian-Keith-in-Parent-Trap-movie
source: Buena Vista Distribution

Why?

Because Vicky is a petty gold digger, but that’s beside the point.

Always two steps ahead, the twins strategize to make Vicky’s time outside a living hell. First, they replace her mosquito repellent with sugar water. Then, they smother honey on her feet while she’s sleeping and get a cub to lick her feet to make it seem like a bear attack was imminent.

For Vicky, that was the last straw.

When she wakes up in the morning, she is livid. She makes her rounds around the campsite, destroying everything and anything, which eventually culminates in her slapping (why she does it, is beyond me) one of the girls. Mitch sees this and reassesses his attraction to her. Vicky, tired and sticky, flees back to the city.

Exhausted, emotionally and physically, Mitch, Susan, and Sharon make their way back to the homestead where Maggie greets them with a feast matching their appetite. They say the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

It’s true.

This leads to Mitch and Maggie to have a heart to heart, where they admit they still do love each other.

At the end of the movie, they choose to get married again and for Susan and Sharon, they couldn’t be happier.

Why I Chose this for the Summer Movie Blogathon…

I really do adore this movie. It’s sweet, charming and absolutely absurd, in a good way. Summer is about kicking back and letting go. It’s a couple months out of the year where you plan something absolutely crazy and get away with it.

That’s the thing about summer. After 9 long months of working and or going to school, summer is where you can come together with friends and relax, or in this movie’s case, plot to do something out of this world. That’s why I chose The Parent Trap for this blogathon, no matter how preposterous something is, during the summer, it’s never off limits.

 

Classic Film Reviews: Boys’ Night Out (1962)

boysnightout
source: MGM

When discussing 1960s sex comedies, there is usually a number of different films (usually starring Doris Day) that pop into your head. That Touch of Mink, Send Me No Flowers, and Lover Come Back are just a few of the many memorable films that the decade produced.

However, there’s a lesser known film that I don’t think too many classic film fans are aware of.

Boys’ Night Out is another early 60s sex comedy, but, instead of starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson, we trade them in for Kim Novak and James Garner. Released in 1962, Boys’ Night Out is a charming little movie about human relationships, or in this film’s case, the “adolescent fantasies of the adult suburban male.”

Garner stars as Fred Williams, a good, honest, single, man who is incessantly bogged down by the unpure thoughts of his three married co-workers, George, Doug and Howie played Tony Randall, Howard Duff, and Howard Morris.

One day while the quartet was having their daily post-work stop at the local watering hole, they spot their boss getting a little too cozy with a woman who wasn’t his wife. Shocked and embarrassed Fred hides his face. The other three? Not so much.

boysnightout1961chevroletimpalasportsedan
source: MGM

Instead of turning their heads in distress, these 3 men get an idea- a mischievous one at that. Taking inspiration from their boss, they decide to have Fred find them an apartment in the city where they could fulfill their fantasies of having an extra-marital affair.

Here’s the catch: not only do they want to lease an apartment, they also want a blonde *ahem* ‘companion’ go along with it. Fred relents and attempts to rent an apartment from a landlord named Peter Bowers, played by Jim Backus. Unfortunately, there’s another buyer who is also seeking to own this lovely suite.

Conveniently, this ‘person’ happens to be a 29-year-old, curvy, blonde named Cathy, played by Kim Novak.

She looks exactly like the woman the guys were describing earlier, but, as the movie progresses, you’ll see that appearances aren’t always everything.

boysnightout-kim
source: MGM

Fred tries to explain that the apartment has already been paid for, but he also doesn’t want to lose out on potentially having Cathy stay here as that oh so coveted ‘companion’ that the boys discussed a few days earlier.

Fred brings up this topic with the hope that Cathy would at least consider the offer; to his surprise, she accepts the job, on the condition that she gets to live in the apartment.

The next day at work, Fred tells his friends about last night’s escapade and, naturally, they react like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Of course, in order to actually use this new found suite to their advantage, the guys come up with a convenient excuse to tell their wives: once a weeknight classes.

As the men get ready to rendezvous in their new apartment, Cathy, on the other hand, reveals her true intentions.

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source: MGM

She’s actually an undercover sociology student working on her senior thesis about the “sexual fantasies of the suburban male.” Cathy then invites her professor over to discuss what she’s about to do, but he is hesitant to let her continue with her plan. Eventually, he concedes and lets Cathy do her thing.

She invites each of the men individually on separate days and records their conversations together. To get each man to open up to her, Cathy specifically targets things that their wives neglect them from doing at home. Howie gets fed the food his wife won’t allow him to have, Doug likes to fix things, and George can’t quit talking about himself.

When Fred meets with her, however, he doesn’t buy into her game. He’s pretty attracted to Cathy and is petrified by his friend’s (fake) tales about their nights with her. Disgusted by this, he refuses to spend his allotted night with her.

Ultimately, Howie, Doug and George’s wives find out about their late night get together with Cathy. To confirm this is actually happening, they hire a private with the help of Fred’s mother (played by Jessie Royce Landis).

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source: MGM

After a few days, they finally get all the information they need to confront their husbands. A few scenes later, the wives storm Cathy’s apartment demanding answers.

When they get there, they ask their husbands if all of this is true, but the men maintain their innocence. Seeing that the situation is getting out of hand, Cathy intervenes.

She comes clean about her ‘experiment’ she was doing and apologizes for causing any harm. During that whole commotion, Fred, angered by the whole ordeal, storms out of the room. After calming the storm, Cathy frantically runs downstairs to confess to Fred what actually happened.

Luckily, she catches him right as he was heading into the elevator, but before the audience could see what transpired between the two, the doors shut. The next time we see them, the elevator doors have opened and we see the two in a tremendously tight embrace, where they’ve presumably ‘kissed and made up’.

The movie ends with all the wives and husbands (including newlyweds Fred and Cathy) gathered together at the same bar where this harebrained scheme was initially hatched; except this time, no one plans on buying an apartment.

Conclusion

This film is pretty great! The first time I saw it, I was a little shocked that Kim Novak would take this sort of role. She’s normally the kind of actress to take a more serious role.

But, as I researched further, I found out that her production company KIMCO were the people who financed/produced it. Because of Harry Cohn’s death in 1958, Novak‘s film offers dried up significantly.  According to Rob Nixon at TCM, this movie was supposed to be the one that resurrected Novak‘s career.

Unfortunately for Novak, the movie was a critical and financial bust. On the bright side, for James Garner, it gave him a bit more publicity and subsequently propelled his career even further.

In the end, Boys Night Out is a decent film. It will definitely give you a few laughs, and the story is coherent enough for you to not get bored. Out of all the sex comedies that were released in the 1960s, this one is certain to keep your attention. If you have a few hours to spare on a Saturday night, this movie is for you.

Favorite Director Blogathon….

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Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Stanley Donen on the set of Charade (1963) source: Universal Pictures

Stanley Donen is a living legend.

It’s no surprise that his movies have made such a lasting impact on the film industry. From comedies, romantic dramas and even musicals, Stanley Donen was the renaissance man of the golden age. In no other film does this exemplify his versatility than 1963’s Charade, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

I think this movie showcases the best of Donen as a director, and that’s the main reason why I chose this film for the Favorite Director Blogathon. Starring Audrey Hepburn (at her loveliest), Cary Grant and Walter Matthau, Charade has one of the funniest and most intriguing plots of any Donen film I’ve ever watched. Often times, I hear a lot of classic movie fans say that this is the most ‘Hitchcockian‘ movie they’ve seen without it being directed by ‘Hitch‘ himself.

So, without further ado, let’s explore why this movie is a perfect example of Stanley Donen‘s talents.

charade4
source: Universal Pictures

The plot of the movie revolves around Regina ‘Reggie’ Lambert, played by Audrey Hepburn. While on a skiing trip in the east of France, she tells her best friend Sylvie Gaudel, played by Dominique Minot that she’s divorcing her husband. Shocked and dismayed at this decision, Sylvie tries to argue against this- to no avail.

Suddenly, a handsome stranger approaches the table where the two are sitting and introduces himself. This man, played by Cary Grant, is Peter Joshua. After a bit of back and forth, he eventually leaves the two women alone.

Cut to the next scene.

We see Reggie back in Paris, only to find out that her apartment has been completely emptied. The police inspector that was in her apartment investigating what happened tells Reggie that her husband has been murdered.

Before he met his demise, he sold off all of their belongs which are now missing. As if this couldn’t get any more strange, her husband left behind a duffle bag containing some passports in different names, some stamps, a ticket to Venezuela and letter that’s addressed to her. A few days later, she attends his funeral. As she’s sitting there mourning the loss of her husband, 3 rather unfamiliar men walk in.

charade
source: Universal Pictures

She brushes this off, merely believing that these men were just old friends until she meets with a CIA administrator named Hamilton Bartholomew, played by Walter Matthau. He tells her that three men that showed up were survivors of a failed OSS operation in World War II.

Their mission (including a man named Carson Dyle and her husband) was to deliver $250,000 in gold to the French Resistance, but instead of doing the right thing, they stole it

This leaves Reggie in a predicament.

Now that her husband is dead, these 3 men were searching for the missing loot. Not only do these louts want the money, the US Government is also looking for it also. Perplexed at what she does next, Regina refuses all help.

This changes quickly as soon as Peter Joshua, coincidentally, tracks Reggie down in Paris and helps her move into a hotel. On three separate occasions, these men individually come to Reggie’s hotel room, demanding that they tell her where the money is.

Now, the next part is a bit tricky.

One of the criminals, named Scobie, tells Reggie that this ‘Peter Joshua’ fellow was one of the men alongside them during the attempted heist.

charade2
source: Universal Pictures

Caught in a lie, ‘Peter Joshua’ confesses that he really isn’t ‘Peter Joshua’, but a man named Alexander, the brother of the heist member Carson Dyle. According to “Alexander”, he’s convinced that one of these 3 men killed his brother. Despite this little bump in the road, the five continue their search for this missing ‘treasure.’

The plot thickens.

While walking around the hotel, one of the men dies, leaving only two left. Naturally, per usual in films like this, Reggie ends up falling in love with Alexander. But, before the two get all ‘lovey-dovey’, one of the two remaining criminals admits that, once again, Alexander isn’t who he says he is.

Stuck in a bit of a pickle, he admits that he’s not any of the men he said he was. In actuality, he’s a man named Adam Canfield and he’s only here to steal the money for himself. Even though he admits this, Reggie still finds him attractive.

Anyway, the two go to an outdoor market where Reggie’s husband had one last ‘appointment’ before he died. Adam sees stamps traders and realizes that her deceased husband must have purchased some rare stamps that were now in Reggie’s possession.

The only problem is that these stamps are now missing and Reggie is the only person who knows where they are. She accidentally gave those stamps away to her best friend’s nephew while on vacation in France and a few days earlier.

charade3big
source: Universal Pictures

Ironically Sylvie and her nephew, named Jean-Louis, happen to be at the same stamp collectors that Adam and Reggie were at a few minutes earlier. Before Jean-Louis could trade in his stamps, thankfully, Reggie stops him.

Exhausted, Reggie returns to the hotel room where she finds ANOTHER one of the henchmen murdered. Chillingly, before the man died, he wrote in blood on the floor of his hotel room the name ‘Dyle.’ Reggie, understanding who that is, calls Hamilton Bartholomew, who wishes to meet with her.

While on her way to meet the CIA administrator, ‘Peter/Alexander/Adam’ spots her and proceeds to chase her through the streets of Paris. She manages to evade him and finds Bartholomew at the spot where they’re supposed to meet up.

Before she could actually talk to him, she gets stopped by Adam, who tells her that Bartholomew is actually Carson Dyle. He claims that he wasn’t killed in the heist only wounded. Reggie doesn’t understand how this could be possible, seeing that they met in his office only days before.

Adam tells her that he cleverly scheduled their appointments so that when the real Bartholomew was on his lunch break, they could meet uninterrupted.

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source: Universal Pictures

The chase continues through an empty theatre where ultimately Bartholomew is shot and killed by Adam. After that whole ordeal, the two go to the US Embassy the next morning to return the stamps. Inside, they’re escorted to the office of Brian Cruikshank, a Treasury official who is responsible for stolen items.

They go inside the office and Reggie finds out that Adam is actually Brian Cruikshank. Reggie, who still isn’t dismayed that this guy lied to her throughout this whole entire ordeal, wants to marry him. Finally, the movie ends with Brian relenting, while Reggie sits on his lap, promising him that they’ll have four kids based on the four names that he used during their escapades.

Why This Perfectly Captures Stanley Donen’s Career

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source: Universal Pictures

Stanley Donen really outdid himself on this one.

Charade is one of the most interesting, funny and exhilarating films I’ve ever seen. It definitely pays to watch this film without any spoilers. I know that the first time I watched it, I wanted more, and I think that’s a testament to Stanley Donen as a director.

From cheery movies like Singin’ In The Rain, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers  to more grounded ones like, Indiscreet and Two For the Road, Charade is that happy mediumWith a perfect blend of drama, sex and comedy, Stanley Donen took a script that could’ve been a Hitchcock copy and turned it into his own. This is why Stanley Donen is my favorite director. He isn’t some knock-off of a director that came before him, he’s unique in his own right, and for that, I thank him.

My Obession With……the films of Audrey Hepburn

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Where do I begin with Ms. Audrey Hepburn? Class personified, and a role model to all women and an ideal woman to all men. A veteran of over 30 movies Audrey Hepburn is the quintessential classic Hollywood figure. In order to properly get a sense of who Audrey was, I’ll pick a few of her movies to get a complete understanding of why she’s so revered as not only a fashion icon but also as a tremendous actress.

Roman Holiday (1953)

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source: Paramount Pictures

Roman Holiday is one of my favorite movies.

If I’m ever introducing someone to classic films, this is the movie I make sure to put on the top of my list. I mean, how could someone be disappointed when they’re watching Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck frolic through Rome? Directed by William Wyler, Roman Holiday tells the story of Princess Ann and her struggles with feeling increasingly isolated in her royal life.

While on a scheduled trip to Rome, she decides to neglect her royal duties and escape the embassy that she’s staying at. The only problem is, her family gave her a sleeping pill to help ease her ‘anxieties.’ This causes her to sleepwalk throughout the city of Rome and eventually into the arms (and apartment) of journalist Joe Bradley, played by Gregory Peck.

When she wakes up the next morning, naturally, she’s utterly confused. Bradley quickly realizes who she is and wants to write a story on her. Ann, or Anya as she would later be called, rebuffs his advances and is hell-bent on exploring Rome by herself. Perturbed at her rejection, Bradley follows her around until they coincidentally meet up at a Roman cafe. For the rest of the film, we see Bradley shed his journalistic instincts while ultimately ending up falling in love with Anya as the two explore Rome together.

I will refrain from posting spoilers on this post because I want people who’ve never seen these films to enjoy the endings as they are. However, to those who have seen Roman Holiday, it’s one of the most touching and romantic movies in Hepburn’s filmography.

The fact that Hepburn won her first and only Academy Award is a testament to how wonderful and heartwarming this movie is. The chemistry between Hepburn and Peck adds to the movie’s already poignant nature, and the ending definitely capitalizes on that.

Funny Face (1957)

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source: Paramount Pictures

The next film on this list is a complete departure from the warm and fuzzy feelings of Roman Holiday. From the cobbled streets of Rome to the slick sophistication of Paris, Funny Face is a romantic-musical-comedy directed by Stanley Donen. 

In the film, Hepburn plays a shy and rather homely bookkeeper named Jo Stockton who’s accidentally photographed by a fashion photographer during a photo shoot at her bookstore. Astonished at how beautiful this “random girl” was in the background of his photo, the man who photographed Jo invites her to model for him in Paris.

As they get to know each other better while snapping photos in front of iconic Parisienne landmarks, they eventually fall in love. Unfortunately, the pair face a plethora of obstacles that hinder them from actually consummating their relationship.

Also starring Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson, Funny Face is your archetypal classic Hollywood musical. With gorgeous scenic shots of Paris, a marvelous soundtrack and killer musical numbers (my favorite, in particular, is ‘Bonjour Paris‘) Funny Face rivals any MGM musical from that year; and the best part about that is, it stars Audrey Hepburn.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1960)

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source: Paramount Pictures

Fun Fact about this movie: Marilyn Monroe was Truman Capote‘s first choice to play Holly Golightly.

This ‘fun fact’ probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise though. Being that the original version Capote intended to put on the screen was much more scandalous for 1960s audiences, the movie had to be toned down significantly in order to appease the censors. The tonal shift meant another, less sexual version of Holly Golightly had to be cast.

This is where Audrey Hepburn steps in.

Directed by Blake Edwards, Breakfast at Tiffany’s also stars George Peppard, Patricia Neal and Mickey Rooney in supporting roles. BAT’ is a story about Holly Golightly’s relationship with writer Paul Varjak, played by Peppard, and the ups and downs that the couple goes through.

I have a special relationship with Breakfast at Tiffany‘s. It surely isn’t my favorite Hepburn film, but, I think it symbolizes a change in film roles that Hepburn would take from that point on in her career. You see, as the 1960s progressed, Hepburn’s filmography would increasingly feature a number of movies where the subject matter wasn’t as ‘lighthearted’ as her previous films.

Breakfast at Tiffany‘s was the first pillar, then rest came falling down in films like, The Children’s Hour, Two for The Road, Wait Unitil Dark and Charade. The movies I listed are a complete departure from the jovial and romantic movies of Hepburn’s earlier roles, and because of that is the reason why Breakfast at Tiffany‘s is a must see. Not only is the film an iconic piece of movie history, it also signifies a shift in Hepburn’s career.

How to Steal a Million (1966)

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source: 20th Century Fox

The last film on this list is apart of those later movies Hepburn would go on to do.

How to Steal a Million is a superb example of a 1960s era romantic-comedy. Directed by William Wyler and starring Peter O’Toole as burglar Simon Bonnet and Hepburn as Nicole Bonnet (the daughter of an art collector,) the movie follows Hepburn and O’Toole‘s character’s as they seek to steal back a piece of art that accidentally got loaned to a local museum.

Why are they stealing the art back? Well, it’s because Nicole’s father is an art forger, and if they allow his ‘art’ to be displayed for all to see, it most certainly wouldn’t bode well for his business.

What ensues is a massively funny and endearing rom-com that had me laughing and swooning (over Peter O’Toole) during its 2 hours and 7-minute runtime. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie and I hope all of reading this will have the privilege of watching it one day.

Conclusion

Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses. The fact that she had such a large imprint on movies in such a short amount of time is a testament to her charisma. I can only hope that you love the movies on this list as much as I do!

The Mesmerizing Colour Palettes of Oceans 11 (1960)

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source: Warner Bros

I’ve always had a fascination with Las Vegas – vintage Las Vegas in particular. Vegas always had this aura of mystery and secrecy to me.

Despite it being a popular tourist destination, I have always felt that ‘Sin City’ was reserved for gangsters, ruffians, and showgirls that were desperately looking to con you out of your money. That’s the thing about Vegas because it has this shiny facade of colors and wealth, we don’t see that seedy underbelly underneath all of the glitz and glamour.

Come to think of it, that’s the perfect way to summarize the 1960 heist film Ocean’s 11. Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Angie Dickinson otherwise known as ‘The Rat Pack’, Ocean’s 11 is basically a 2-hour self-congratulatory movie made to showcase how awesome it is to robe few casino with 10 of your closest friends.

It’s a very enjoyable flick, don’t get me wrong. It’s so enjoyable that I even have this poster of the movie on my bedroom wall. The problem with Ocean’s is that it isn’t the best plot-wise. There tends to be a ton of moments in the film where there’s a lot of standing and talking, talking and standing. That would be great if it were a courtroom drama, but for an action-adventure picture, it gets tired very quickly.

That’s where the cinematography comes in.

What’s so great about Ocean’s 11 is the way it looks. The movie’s cinematographer William H. Daniels did such a fantastic job on this movie that the cinematography makes up for what the plot lacks. The vivid colors contrasted with the black backgrounds is something I would frame and put in my living room.

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source: Warner Bros
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source: Warner Bros
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source: Warner Bros
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source: Warner Bros
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source: Warner Bros
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source: Warner Bros

As you can see above, there are dozens of instances in the film where the contrasts of colors are breathtaking.

Even though I don’t necessarily enjoy certain aspects of the movie, the cinematography more than makes up for what the script is lacking.

That’s what so great about this movie. It’s fun, slow-paced and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you have the chance to watch it on TCM or buy it on DVD, it’s undoubtedly a great movie to cozy up with on a Saturday evening, paired with your favorite beverage and a nice bowl of popcorn.