Comedy · Musical

How to Squander Hollywood Talent

We might as well get the Unpleasantness out of the way. The Unpleasantness is in the musical comedy, You’ll Never Get Rich (1941), a film about a New York musical stage director (Fred Astaire) who receives a draft notice from the U.S. Army. This notice couldn’t come at a Better Time; it’s the answer to… Continue reading How to Squander Hollywood Talent

Comedy · Drama

Fred MacMurray’s Study in Ego

When it started making talking pictures, Hollywood intensified its plundering of Broadway. No, really. Hollywood, pressed for dialogue and actors that studios felt were trained to deliver it, began luring Talent to California with promises of sunshine, opportunity and Money. Although Broadway has long been a place where Hollywood shops for ideas, the advent of… Continue reading Fred MacMurray’s Study in Ego

Comedy · Drama

Mary Pickford, Hollywood Tycoon

This is Mary Pickford. She’s 25 years old in the above photo, taken on the set of the comedy-drama Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917). She plays a poor teenage girl from the country, sent to the City to live with two sour aunts. Yes, we know – she doesn’t look like a teenager. She’s also… Continue reading Mary Pickford, Hollywood Tycoon

Comedy

The Plaza Suite Wedding War

Plaza Suite (1971) is a movie where you have to decide, early on, if you can accept its parameters. The film, based on the successful Neil Simon Broadway play, is an omnibus of sorts, comprised of three one-act plays about three successive couples who rent suite 719 in New York’s Plaza Hotel. The original Broadway… Continue reading The Plaza Suite Wedding War

Comedy · Drama

The Seditious Rules of the Game

The most uncomfortable films are those that denounce Society’s questionable choices. These films say I know what you’re doing, and they’re not intended to make audiences feel good about themselves. One such film is La Règle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game), released in France in the summer of 1939. Director Jean Renoir shows us the world… Continue reading The Seditious Rules of the Game

Comedy

Why Early Silent Films are Meant for YouTube (or Vice Versa)

We (as in, yours truly) strive to be a Productive Member of Society. We volunteer and recycle, and we try not to block the aisle in the grocery store. But we do have some unproductive habits, such as being Greatly Distracted by short videos on YouTube. We’re powerless against these things! A bulldozer runs over… Continue reading Why Early Silent Films are Meant for YouTube (or Vice Versa)

Comedy · Musical

The Big-Screen Success of a Broadway Flop

The 1935 Broadway comedy, Sweet Mystery of Life, closed after 11 performances. You’d think this play was ideally suited to Depression-era audiences: Greedy associates of a hypochondriac businessman convince him to purchase a $5 million life insurance policy, naming them as beneficiaries. Then they try to cause the businessman’s demise by encouraging him to indulge… Continue reading The Big-Screen Success of a Broadway Flop

Comedy · Musical

A Superficial Hollywood Musical? Say it Ain’t So!

You might as well know. We (as in, yours truly) are a sucker for Technicolor comedies about New York City. We can’t help it. We love a bright, busy city full of smart, witty people, a place where Dreams Come True. For example, look at the 1949 confection, On the Town. Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin… Continue reading A Superficial Hollywood Musical? Say it Ain’t So!

Comedy

Bugs Bunny and the Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator

Well, here’s a surprise. Turns out we earthlings owe our planetary survival to Bugs Bunny. You likely didn’t expect that, and we didn’t either. You can see the whole ordeal unfold in the Looney Tunes short, Haredevil Hare (1948). It begins, as ordeals generally do, on a bright, sunny day. Scientists drag a reluctant Bugs… Continue reading Bugs Bunny and the Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator