Film Summary

Some of the films I’ve seen lately. They’re roughly ranked by how much I enjoyed them. If I don’t get around to writing more, here’s a little.

The General (1926 – Buster Keaton)
Superbly-shot silent film. Funny. Art. Keaton broke his neck doing one of the stunts and didn’t realise it until years later. There are different soundtracks played over this. One I heard on the flight I saw it on was great, some of the others are a bit dull.

Back to the Future (All of them! Saw them all before but I think they really stand up. Second one is set in 2015.)

Bringing Up Baby (1938 – Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn)
All three of these Grant – Hepburn films are unmissable. There’s another that isn’t as highly-rated and I haven’t watched it yet.

Holiday (1938 – Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn)

The Philadelphia Story (1940 – Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn)

His Girl Friday (1940 – Cary Grant)
Satire of the newspaper industry. While since I saw it but it should be well worth a watch.

It Happened One Night (1934 – Clark Gable)
One of the most sizzling films I’ve seen since that documentary about sausages. You don’t need to show it!

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949 – Alec Guinness)
Guinness plays eight people in one family – including an old lady! Masterful.

The Great Dictator (1940 – Charlie Chaplin)
More than just slapstick (of which, there was a lot less than expected). While I think that this Chaplin’s strongest suit, I found the serious speech at the end of this film powerful and moving. I like how Chaplin’s character doesn’t speak for a while at the start, before eventually breaking his silence with the not-too-memorable “Yes, sir!”.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936 – Frank Capra, Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur)
Perhaps a proto-It’s a Wonderful Life. Hugely entertaining film about an honest, straightforward man who inherits a fortune and becomes a target for those who both want money and dislike his honesty. Deeds’ low point is far less dramatic than George Bailey’s, but I would expect him to react with more level-headed confidence in any situation. Very likeable character.

My Man Godfrey (1936 – William Powell, Carole Lombard)
All the little (and not so little) Celtic tiger cubs should watch this film about excess during the depression. Powell does a fine job as a hobo who gets a job as a butler in this screwball comedy.

To Be or Not to Be (1942 – Carole Lombard)
Funny comedy with Nazis. Many characters pronounce the “Z”.

The Thin Man (1934 – William Powell, Myrna Loy)
More Powell. This time he’s a retired detective doing some detecting. There were loads of sequels to this one.

An Affair to Remember (1957 – Cary Grant)
The plot is crap but maybe you’ll cry anyway…

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944 – Cary Grant)
This one’s deceptive – seems dull at the start but they don’t come much more screwy.

North by Northwest (1959 – Cary Grant)
Not exactly a news flash that this one’s good…

To Catch a Thief (1955 – Cary Grant, Grace Kelly)
Wow, Grace Kelly! Grant is a suave ex-diamond thief swanning around the south of France in this one. Grace Kelly.

The African Queen (1951 – Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart)
Hepburn is great, Bogie is out of his league here. A bit mixed here and there but still a very worthy film.

The Awful Truth (1937 – Cary Grant)
Probably not very realistic – couple get divorced and suddenly find each other a lot more attractive. There can be a kind-of echo effect in break-ups, but it probably wasn’t what they were going for.

Only Angels Have Wings (1939 – Cary Grant)
Found this one gripping – some tense flying scenes.

Father Goose (1964 – Cary Grant)
I liked this one – hard-drinking sailor-waster Grant gets lumbered with having to help look after a load of French school children. Their very prim and proper teacher is very attractive. Only one thing happen!

Houseboat (1958 – Cary Grant, Sophia Loren)
I liked this film because Sophia Loren is in it. And Carie Grant is effectively me, or about as suave as I ideally would be if I was anywhere near a young Sophia Loren.

Monkey Business (1952 – Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe)
Screwball comedy. Monroe is barely in it but she does, of course, catch the eye. You can see her talent is comedy. Herself and Arnie could’ve made some great films!

The Bishop’s Wife (1947 – Cary Grant)
Think this one used to be a popular Christmas film, although nobody’s interested in stories about guardian angels anymore. Still, Grant’s in it and I thought it was quite enjoyable. You feel like it’s an eighties Christmas and you have that warm, safe-from-liberal-PC-idealogue feeling when you’re watching it.

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947 – Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple)
Judge orders eligible bachelor to go out with a sixteen-year-old so she’ll learn a lesson and grow up (or something). Bizarre premise. Probably couldn’t be done now. Entertaining enough.

The Grass is Greener (1960 – Cary Grant)
I really liked this one. First twenty minutes aren’t great until you get a feel for its off-beat comedy.

Paper Moon (1973 – Ryan and Tatum O’Neal)
Very well-made film. Enjoyed but didn’t love it.

Notorious (1946 – Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman)
More watchable than the sum of its parts. Something to do with the stars.

Sullivan’s Travels (1941 – Veronica Lake)
Veronica Lake is in this, although she spends most of the film dressed as a man.

That Touch of Mink (1962 – Cary Grant, Doris Day)
Maybe this could be up higher. Not a big fan of Doris Day.

Penny Serenade (1941 – Cary Grant)
Maybe a bit of a trite tale. I enjoyed it anyway.

Walk Don’t Run (1966 – Cary Grant)
Enjoyable Grant comedy, his last film. Seems to be handing over his suave role to someone I never heard of (so he obviously blew it).

Operation Petticoat (1959 – Cary Grant, Tony Curtis)
Fun like eating sugar. Maybe candy floss.

Modern Times (1936 – Charlie Chaplin)
Funny film from a purely slapstick perspective. Was disappointed that it has almost zero worthwhile social commentary. Overrated.

Charade (1963 – Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn)
Audrey Hepburn wasn’t that great at acting. Otherwise it’s a decent, if silly film.


Didn’t like these ones much:
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944 – Judy Garland)
People often say this is a classic but I thought it was shite. It’s a musical that isn’t Singin’ in the Rain or The Terminator so I should have known better.

Topper (1937 – Cary Grant)
Hard-drinking, drink driving couple die in car crash and their ghosts decide to teach their boring banker how to be cool like them. Mentions hitting the wife casually at least once. Interesting how society changes over time…


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