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

Comedy

Doris Day: The Most Glamorous Curmudgeon in NYC

Once upon a time, there was an inconvenient telephone arrangement called the “party line”. Never heard of it? Here’s a description from Mental Floss: A party line was a local telephone loop circuit that was shared by more than one subscriber. There was no privacy on a party line…anyone on your party line could pick up… Continue reading Doris Day: The Most Glamorous Curmudgeon in NYC

Comedy · Mystery

Michael Caine: Outsmarting Your Opponent to Death

Sometimes nothing is more tedious than a person who will go to Any Lengths to prove a point. There’s no getting around it with these folks; the rotation of the earth is threatened if they can’t beat you about the head with their Point. Sometimes the Point is noble, such as fighting for safe drinking… Continue reading Michael Caine: Outsmarting Your Opponent to Death

Comedy · Science Fiction

The Best Time Travel Movie You’ve Never Seen

If you’re in the mood for a shrewd, off-the-wall flick, then you’ve come to the right place. Tomorrow I’ll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea (1977) is a Czechoslovakian* sci-fi/comedy about time travel and outsmarting the person you used to be. It’s also about time travel as a profitable tourist activity. Now, to travel… Continue reading The Best Time Travel Movie You’ve Never Seen

Comedy

Buster Keaton and the Hard Work of Failure

Have you ever worked really hard at something, only to see it fail? We (as in, yours truly) have racked up loads of spectacular failures. Some were easy, while others required herculean effort. That’s why we admire Buster Keaton‘s character in College (1927). Keaton plays a bookish college freshman who tries to join a college… Continue reading Buster Keaton and the Hard Work of Failure

Comedy · Musical

The Grumpy 1930s Musical

Did you ever watch a movie that seems, well, irritable – like it woke up on the wrong side of the bed? That’s how we feel about Dames, a musical comedy from 1934. This film is about a rich industrialist (Hugh Herbert) who wants to give $10 million to his extended family, but! He thinks theatre… Continue reading The Grumpy 1930s Musical

Comedy · Holiday

New Year’s Eve: Party Like it’s 1939

Dear Reader, we know you’re the glam type of socialite during the Holiday Season. You are In Demand, and we’re here to Help. In fact, if you plan to capture the epicurean flavour of the 1930s this season, let us look to the 1939 comedy, Bachelor Mother. We’ve written about this film before, about its… Continue reading New Year’s Eve: Party Like it’s 1939

Comedy

Kirk Douglas’ Servant, er, Secretary

There’s some uncomfortable business in the 1948 comedy My Dear Secretary. It’s a film with plenty of witty lines and delightfully outlandish characters, as portrayed by Kirk Douglas, Laraine Day and a scene-stealing Keenan Wynn. My Dear Secretary is about a celebrity author named Owen Waterbury (Douglas), who regularly hires secretaries to whom he dictates his… Continue reading Kirk Douglas’ Servant, er, Secretary