Classic Film Reviews: Indiscreet (1958)

Indiscreet 1958

source: Warner Bros

Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant are a pair to be reckoned with.

From Notorious to the duo’s incredible friendship, Bergman and Grant have always been two of classic Hollywood’s greats.

So, when I viewed the film, Indiscreet, I was in absolute heaven.

It may very well be a simple romantic comedy, but, I believe there’s more to it.


At this point in Bergman‘s career, she was essentially blacklisted from Hollywood.

From being denounced by the Catholic Church for her affair with Roberto Rossellini, to having the majority of her foreign films flop at the box office, Bergman was treading on thin ice.

In walks her good friend Cary Grant.

Indiscreet1958 2

source: Warner Bros

Friends for decades, co-workers for several movies, and close confidants, Grant has always stood by her side, even accepting her Oscar Award for Anastasia in 1956 when she couldn’t attend.

In a way, Indiscreet makes for perfect a movie. The film has two very likable leads, and the plot has quite an acquired taste. Think of Indiscreet as an Americano, something you only drink when you’re desperate for coffee, except it’s sweeter and has a richer taste.

Directed by my favorite filmmaker, Stanley Donen, the movie tells the story of Anna Kalman, played by Ingrid Bergman, a London based actress who has given up on finding love.

Through her brother in law, played by Cecil Parker, she meets Phillip Adams, played by Grant, an economist with a taste for the theatre.

Anna and Phillip eventually start dating, and everything appears to go well until Phillip reveals his secret.

All the while the couple were in their “honeymoon” stage of their relationship Phillip conveniently forgot to tell Anna that he actually wasn’t a married man.  Anna believed that she was having an affair, so when Phillip told her the news, she didn’t take it too well.

Indiscreet1958 3

source: Warner Bros

The rest of the film sees Anna attempt to get back to Phillip, which she does with much hilarity and fanfare, inevitably deciding to get married in the end.


The movie isn’t too well known in the classic movie sphere, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean it fails to make a lasting impression. The coupling of Grant and Bergman not only made for a truly entertaining movie, it made sense.

If you were to look at the script and synopsis of the movie, it does have rather mature themes. I don’t think there could be another duo, besides Grant and Bergman, that could’ve taken these roles.

Donen did an incredible job with not only the script, but, the direction as well. The feel, mood, pacing and acting in this film, gives you a sense of real richness. Meaning, that it feels mature, this isn’t your typical classic Hollywood romance – it’s a romance for the older generation.

I suppose that’s what makes it so special.

Advertisements

Salvador Dali Questions Our Sanity in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945)

Dali Hitch

source: United Artists

When we think of Alfred Hitchcock, there are certain qualities and buzzwords that are synonymous with his name: brilliant, genius, crazy and a multitude of others.

What happens when you pair a crazy, pedantic genius, with a hairbrained painter with a mustache? A wildly fascinating dream sequence in 1945’s Spellbound.


In 1945, the acting talents of Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck joined forces with director Alfred Hitchcock to create a rather underrated movie in Hitchcock‘s filmography.

Spellbound is a peach of a movie, combining romance and psychology with the intrigue of forgotten memory.

Bergman and Peck play psychoanalysts Constance Peterson and Anthony Edwardes, respectively.

In classic Hollywood fashion, the pair ends up breaking every professional rule in the book and inevitably have an affair.

Naturally, when you fall in bed love with someone, especially as quickly and passionately as having an affair, you enter a “honeymoon phase” where you notice every single tiny detail of your object of affection.

spellbound 2

source: United Artists

This is where Constance picks up on Anthony’s strange habits. She finds out that not only does he have a fear of parallel lines on white backgrounds, he’s also not who he claims he is. Constance deduces that he might be an imposter, based on a number of things that Anthony has told her.

From killing the real Dr. Edwardes, having bouts of amnesia, to having a guilt complex, Constance overlooks these GLARING issue to get this poor man (one she doesn’t know very well, mind you) the help he needs.

When Edwardes sneaks away from Constance’s grasp, due to fear of, well, everything – she tracks him down and attempts to use her psychoanalytic techniques on him. These methods prove to be unsuccessful, and eventually, she takes him to upstate New York, where they meet two doctors who proceed to psychoanalyze his many stray thoughts.

DALI-SPELLBOUND2

source: United Artists

In steps Salvador Dali.

In 1945, Dail moved specifically to Hollywood to work on this film. Hitchcock wanted a scene that portrays the surrealness of Edwardes’ dreams and Dali was the only artist to bring Hitch‘s madcap imagination to life.

In order to capture this, accurately and as demented as possible, Hitchcock gave Dali free reign to shape, and mold this world to his liking. This is how we get a rather, disturbing, and incredibly unsettling dream scene smack dab in the middle of the film.

Dali and Hitchcock wanted us to feel that way, they wanted us to squirm in our seats and crane our necks away from the television (or movie screen in this case.) This 3-minute sequence, unfortunately, is probably the most memorable part of the film, however, it’s almost certainly the most important scene as well.

This dream sequence sets the tone for the rest of the movie. As an audience member, we get a feel for how “Edwardes” thinks, feels and acts. Thanks to the creativity and forward thinking of Hitchcock, and the expansive mind of Dali, we were blessed with perhaps the greatest dream sequence ever to be put on the silver screen.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The 3rd Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon…..

caryandingrid

source: Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant posing for photos after a press conference promoting their film, “Indiscreet” (1958).

From having an affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini in 1950, to being denounced on the floor of Congress for her actions, which eventually culminated in winning an Oscar her role in AnastasiaIngrid Bergman‘s later years are absolutely fascinating.

Spanning 26 years, this era of Bergman sums why she’s recognized as one of the greatest actresses of all time. Looking back, it may have been the peak of Ingrid’s career, but, if you rewind the clock to the beginning 1956, everything in Bergman’s life, both professionally and personally, was in shambles.

It all started in 1949.

Stromboli.

Wanting to work with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, Bergman mailed him a letter detailing how she was just dying to make a picture with him. Flattered and amused, Rossellini took the beautiful Swede up on her offer and together Ingrid and Roberto made Stromboli which was released a few months later.

That’s not the only thing they created together, however.

Coinciding with the release of the Stromboli was the birth of Bergman and Rossellini‘s love child son, Renato Roberto Ranaldo Giusto Giuseppe “Robin” Rossellini. The affair, naturally, caused a giant scandal in the United States, where Bergman ended up public enemy number one.

roberto-rossellini-ingrid-bergman

Ingrid and Roberto finally married in 1950 after intense pressure from outside forces.

You see, when Hollywood typecasts you as the perpetual virgin, then you go out and have a child with a man who isn’t your husband, that’ll make A LOT of people angry.

The backlash and vitriol against Bergman got so hateful that for about 5 years, starting in late 1950, she stayed in Italy with her husband continuing the film career that she had lost in America.

Luckily for her, 1956 was the start of her comeback.

By the end of 1955, Rosellini and Bergman were divorced. After 3 kids and 6 years of marriage, they officially divorced in 1957, but, were separated for many years before that.

What would you do if your marriage was breaking down?

Throw yourself into your work, of course.

Anastasia 1956

source: 20th Century Fox

Released in 1956, Anastasia was the monumental comeback that Bergman was due for. Co-starring alongside Yul Brynner and Helen Hayes, the film was met with rave reviews from American audiences; the same audiences that cursed her name 5 years earlier.

The movie was so successful that Americans (and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) decided to give her a public apology by nominating her performance for an Oscar, which she would, subsequently, go on to win.

Her win in 1956, saw Bergman‘s name back in the hearts and minds of the American people.

It would only be until 1958, however, that Bergman would officially make her first public appearance presenting the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards. Being introduced by Cary Grant, she received a standing ovation from the audience, which symbolized how much they forgave and missed her.

After this career resurgence, Bergman was on roll.

She continued to alternate her work between the United States and Europe while periodically sprinkling in the occasional TV appearance. During this time, she made fantastic films Indiscreet, Goodbye Again and The Yellow Rolls- Royce.

Although this may be an impressive list of films, Bergman would further add to her success by winning ANOTHER Oscar for her role in Agatha Christie‘s Murder on the Orient Express. Ingrid was surprised that she was given the Award considering that her part was only a couple of minutes long.

Nevertheless, the Academy thought she was good enough to earn her second Oscar in the span of 20 years.

A woman called Golda

source: Paramount Television

Unfortunately, after this picture, Bergman‘s acting roles steadily began to reduce as she got older.

In 1978, Bergman starred in her final cinematic role in the Ingmar Bergman‘s drama Autumn Sonata. The film was a triumph and for her performance, Bergman received her 7th and final Academy Award nomination.

In what would be her final acting role, Ingrid was cast as Golda Meir in the television miniseries about her life, appropriately named, A Woman Called Golda. Her performance once again was lauded, but, sadly Ingrid would pass away before she could receive her second Tony Award in 1983.

Conclusion

Ingrid Bergman was truly a Hollywood legend. Her life, memory, and contributions to cinema have not been forgotten. While she was alive her movies and charisma made her stand out from the typical actress of that time. Fresh-faced, and naturally beautiful, Bergman changed that way Hollywood saw women for the better.

Today, on what would’ve been her 103rd birthday, I look back at Ingrid’s career with joy and satisfaction. She was an incredible woman, and her legacy will be one that we look at in awe.

 

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

Five Stars Blogathon…

Before I begin, I would like to thank the Classic Film and TV Café for hosting this wonderful, very interesting blogathon!

This is my first ever blogathon and I’m quite excited about it, I’ve been wanting to do one for a while. The topic for this specific blogathon is to list my five favorite movie stars and write about what I adore about them, so, without further ado, I present to you my five favorites classic Hollywood actors/actress of the golden age of Hollywood.

Number 5: Doris Day

dorisday

It’s no wonder that the band Wham! wrote a lyric in their song Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go about her.

Doris Day is one of those classic Hollywood icons that everyone loves and no one hates- I mean, how could you hate her? Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff was born on April 3rd, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio to parents Alma Sophia and William Joseph Kappelhoff.

Doris started her career at a young age. Her mother put her in singing lessons which eventually landed her first singing gig on a radio program named Carlin’s Carnival sometime in the early 40s. This is where jazz musician Barney Rapp first heard her and quickly called her up to come audition for his jazz band. Fortunately for Day, she got the job.

The next few years Doris would spend her days traveling with bandleaders like Jimmy JamesBob Crosby, and Les Brown. While working with the Les Brown Band, she caught the eye of songwriter Sammy Cahn who recommended her for the starring role in Michael Curtiz’s film, Romance on the High Seas. This is where Doris started her movie career that would last around 20 years and includes 43 movies, with memorable ones such as The Man Who Knew Too Much, Please Don’ Eat the Daisies, and Lover Come Back.

Doris Day is the reason I fell in love with classic movies, Pillow Talk was one of the first films from Doris that I ever watched, after that- I was obsessed. Her warm and radiant presence on screen kept me coming back for more. The 1960s alone were a goldmine for great Doris Day movies. I can only hope that you find a classic Hollywood actress that you love as much as I love Doris Day.

Film recommendations: Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane, Love Me or Leave Me, Move Over Darling, Send Me No Flowers.

Number 4: Fred Astaire

fred-astaire2

Ahhhh, Fred Astaire. Where would dancing in movies be without you?

This suave hoofer was born in Omaha, Nebraska as Fred Austerlitz on May 10th 1899. Much like Doris Day, Fred got started quite early, dancing with his sister Adele in several shows as a partnership at the age of 6.

By 1918 Fred quickly outgrew the pair and eventually his sister. Despite this obvious talent disparity, the two continued to tour, performing in London in shows like The Bunch and Judy, Lady Be Good, Funny Face, and an early version of The Band Wagon from 1922 through 1931.

Hoping to give the partnership one last shot, the siblings took their act to Hollywood for a screen test- only to be rejected by Paramount Pictures. The pair split in 1932. Adele went on to marry and settle down in a comfortable home life, while Fred honed his craft and continue to work on Broadway. Aspiring to expand his range, Astaire once again went to Hollywood to try his luck, and boy was he lucky.

After screen testing for RKO Pictures, David O Selznick decided to sign Astaire to a contract and the rest was history…

Astaire would go on to become one of the most memorable and recognizable on-screen dancers of the 20th Century. Starring in 8 films alongside Ginger Rogers and dancing with some of the most gorgeous leading ladies of his lifetime, Fred Astaire was a force to be reckoned with.

I love Fred for this very reason. No matter what movie he was in, you could guarantee you’ll have a great cinematic experience. His work ethic was unparalleled and it showed in his dance numbers.

For that reason, I have him on the number 4 spot on this list.

Film Recommendations: Funny Face, Silk Stockings, The Barkleys of Broadway, The Band Wagon, You Were Never the Lovelier.

Number 3: Ingrid Bergman

ingridbergman

Ingrid Bergman is one of those actresses that you wish were still alive today. In her prime, she made some remarkable movies that I still rewatch to this day. I only wished she could’ve made more…

Ingrid was born Stockholm, Sweden on August 29th, 1915 to parents Justus Bergman and Frieda Adler. As a child, she wanted to become an opera singer, so she took singing lessons for 3 years. Even though she longed to become an opera singer, she always knew should become an actress. Later in her teen years, Ingrid received a scholarship to the Royal Dramatic Theatre School in Stockholm. She accepted and quickly got a part in the school’s new play Ett Brott (translated in English to A Crime.)

The thing is, this was completely violating school procedure. In order to star in a play, you’d have to be in your 3rd year of studies, but alas, Ingrid broke that rule.

That summer, Ingrid was hired for her first movie role, which ultimately saw her drop out of University.  Her first role after dropping out of college was a tiny part in the film, Munkbrogreven. She continued her career in Sweden, acting in two more films before she got her big break.

In 1939 she got the leading role in the movie in David O Selznick‘s romantic-drama Intermezzo (a lovely film, by the way.) Selznick brought her to America for this specifically to star alongside Leslie Howard. At first, Ingrid didn’t believe that the American audiences would be accepting of her. But, she recanted and did the movie anyway, only to quickly to return to Sweden with her then-husband Petter Lindstrom and her daughter Pia.

It was only when Intermezzo was a hit that Ingrid returned to America to continue her career which included fantastic films like: Casablanca, Anastasia, and Murder on The Orient Express. 

Film Recommendations: Notorious, Spellbound, Gaslight, Goodbye Again, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Number 2:  Frank Sinatra

Screen-Shot-2015-12-12-at-12

Frank Sinatra. What more can I say? Probably the most influential pop figure from the 20th century we’ve ever had. Singer. Actor. Influencer. Womanizer.

Need I say more?

Compared to the rest of the stars on this list, by the time Frank started his movie career, he was already a full-fledged pop crooner. In the early 40s, he made his film debut in Las Vegas Nights, where he had an uncredited cameo as a nightclub singer. In 1943, he had another cameo in the film Reveille with Beverly before getting a starring role in the movie Anchors Aweigh co-starring Gene Kelly. Sinatra’s fame quadrupled in size when he started his acting career and from that point on, it would only continue to get bigger.

I love Sinatra’s acting career. It has a lot of different genres and themes where Frank was able to show that he could take on a multitude of different roles. From movies like Take Me Out to The Ball Game, It Happened in Brooklyn and eventually winning an Oscar for From Here to Eternity, Sinatra’s acting career is almost as good as his singing one- almost.

Film Recommendations: On the Town, The Man With the Golden Arm, The Tender Trap, Guys and Dolls, High Society, Pal Joey, Ocean’s 11

Number 1: Kim Novak

novak698

Sooooo, Kim Novak.  A blonde bombshell whose career isn’t as appreciated as some of her fellow actresses of that decade. A fairly tragic story if you ask me…

Kim Novak was born Marilyn Pauline Novak on February 13th, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. One summer while Kim was modeling cross country for a refrigerator company at a trade show in Los Angeles, she and a friend decided to audition as extras for the Jane Russell film The French Line and the RKO picture Son of Sinbad. This is where she was spotted by an agent who signed her to a contract to Columbia Pictures.

It was here that the studio tried to mold Kim into something she wasn’t comfortable with (aka another Marilyn Monroe.) Novak would make her film debut in the film noir Pushover in 1954 then quickly follow that up with 5 Against the House in 1955. Her career would finally pick up when she starred in Picnic in 1955. This movie would springboard her into more film roles like The Man With The Golden Arm, Vertigo, and Bell Book and Candle.

You know, sometimes I feel really bad for her. I mean, she deserved way more then what she got during her career. She has always been overlooked for her acting ability solely on the fact that she happened to be in the same era of the ‘blonde bombshell.’ The studio tried to mold her into something she wasn’t and for that, I truly believed her career suffered. Luckily for the limited amount of movie she did do, hold up just perfectly.

FIN

So, those are my top 5, I’m excited to see what everyone else put on their list!