Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

In Annie Hall we have the eponymous heroine, who is neurotic, trying to find some semblance of happiness. Pit her against another neurotic, a New York comedian Alvy Singer their combined neurosis must be a veritable mine and naturally enough with the success of Annie Hall a new genre of movies came in vogue of which When Harry Met Sally is one. This movie marks a turning point in the career of Woody Allen. Gone were the slapstick jokes, pratfalls and high-paced hilarity that had marked his earlier films (Bananas, Sleeper, and Love and Death). His films became mature.
Interestingly enough Woody Allen began this project as a whodunit mystery with possibly a love angle. Allen and co-screenwriter Marshall Brickman actually produced a script during which the role of Diane Keaton moved from secondary role to the central role. As always the case the original intent of murder mystery was dropped. ( see trivia section at the end)
The film is titled Annie Hall but the film is clearly built around Alvy Sanger. It traces the course of their relationship from their first meeting, and serves as an interesting historical document about love in the 70s.
Film Overview
Annie Hall’s story unfolds in retrospect with Alvy, as the narrator, attempting to make sense of his relationship with Annie within the context of his entire life.
Annie Hall begins with Alvy speaking directly to the camera. He delivers a few key jokes that set the tone rightaway. His pessimism owes its origin to his childhood. The flashback takes us to his visit to a doctor at the age of nine. Alvy is depressed because, as he explains, the universe is expanding and it is likely to explode one day. He has a few more episodes till he arrives at the place when he began dating Annie, an aspiring singer and she shows up late for their movie date.
In line at the theater, the couple bickers: Alvy complains about the obnoxious loudmouth behind him; Annie, about missing her therapy session.
From there their relationship leads to an unsatisfactory bout in bed. The film flashes back to Alvy’s first wife, Allison. Such jump in flasback is satisfactorily sustained because of an image or phrase that crops up and it is a cue for breaking the chronological order of his narration.. For example Annie while in bed asks about Allison, which explains how he met her at a fundraiser, and their sexual problems when married. The film also flashes back to Annie’s previous romantic relationships. Instead of the devise of speech balloons in a comic strip Woody Allen resorts to this unusual gag which is purely visual: he and Annie let us know their views as each partner present their past. The film succeeds in spite of the patter that isn’t first class. For example after sex with Annie his comment ‘That sex was the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing’ is borrowed from a quote,”That was the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing” by H.L. Mencken in 1942 (and later by Humphrey Bogart). Towards the end after losing Annie Hall he is shooting a film referring to their reltionship but with a happy  ending. His observes,“You’re always trying to get things to come out perfect in art because it’s real difficult in life.” It could have been from any of the Wildean plays but without his polish.
Ultimately the film is of a high quality throughout. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1977. Allen walked off with the Best Director award while Keaton deservedly won for Best Actress. Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time” in 2006.

*  Some of the murder mystery elements that were meant to be part of this film were transferred by Woody Allen to his later film Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), which also co-starred Diane Keaton.

* Alvy’s (Woody Allen’s) sneezing into the cocaine was an unscripted accident. When previewed, the audience laughed so loud that director Allen decided to leave it in, and had to add footage to compensate for people missing the next few jokes from laughing too much.

* During the lobster-cooking scene Annie runs and retrieves a camera to take pictures of Alvy dealing with the crustaceans. Later, when Alvy runs over to Annie’s house to smash a spider, the series of photos Annie took is on the wall in the background.

* Diane Keaton’s real name is Diane Hall and her nickname is Annie.

* Sigourney Weaver’s screen debut, in a non-speaking part as Alvy’s date near the end of the movie.

* The jokes that Woody Allen tells in front of the audience at the University of Wisconsin and on “The Dick Cavett Show” (1968) are from his stand-up comic days.

* Annie’s outfits, which caused a brief fashion rage, were Diane Keaton’s own clothes.

* When waiting in front of the movie theater, Alvy Singer says, “I’m standing out here with the cast of the Godfather,” to Diane Keaton, who was in the cast of The Godfather (1972). Additionally, one of the men who bothers him for the autograph is played by actor Rick Petrucelli, who had a small role in The Godfather as a thug who protects Michael en route to the hospital.

* In the scene where Alvy questions people on the street about what makes a relationship, a large crowd can be seen in the background watching the filming.

* Ben Stiller comments how he likes the scene when Alvy has to meet Annie’s family in AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies (1998) (TV) and how it relates to him personally because he always was very apprehensive meeting his girlfriends’ parents. Stiller starred in Meet the Parents (2000), which revolved around that very idea.

* Alvy calls the two fans that pester him at the movie theatre ‘Cheech’. In Bullets Over Broadway (1994), also directed by Allen, Chazz Palminteri’s gangster character is called ‘Cheech.’

* The film’s working title was “Anhedonia” – the inability to feel pleasure. United Artists fought against it (among other things, they were unable to come up with an ad campaign that explained the meaning of the word) and Allen compromised on naming the film after the central character three weeks before the film’s premiere.

* The film Alvy is waiting to see with Annie is Ansikte mot ansikte (1976) (Face to Face) by Ingmar Bergman, one of Woody Allen’s biggest influences.

* The first rough cut ran 2 hours and 20 minutes. Among the scenes later eliminated were: segments showing Alvy’s former classmates in the present day; Alvy as a teenager; a scene in a junk-food restaurant (featuring Danny Aiello); extensive additional scenes featuring Carol Kane, Janet Margolin, Colleen Dewhurst and Shelley Duvall; and a fantasy segment at Madison Square Garden featuring the New York Knicks competing against a team of five great philosophers. Christopher Walken’s driving scene was also cut, but was restored a week before the film was completed. New material for the ending was filmed on three occasions, but most was discarded. The final montage was a late addition.

* One scene cut from the film is a fantasy sequence of Annie and Alvy visiting hell. This scene was rewritten 20 years later for Allen’s Deconstructing Harry (1997).

* Marshall McLuhan was not Allen’s first choice. Federico Fellini and Luis Buñuel were asked first.

* The completely silent credits were inspired by The Front (1976), which starred Woody Allen.

* Alvy and Annie never say “I love you” to each other. The closest they come is when Alvy says love isn’t a strong enough word for how he feels.

* During the classroom flashbacks, one of the teachers writes, “Tuesday, December 1″ on the chalkboard. December 1 is Woody Allen’s birthday, and Tuesday December 1, 1942 was his seventh birthday, tying in with the school setting.

* On “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” (1993) (28 February 1995), Harvey Fierstein revealed that both he and Danny Aiello had bit parts in this classic, but their scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

* Woody Allen originally filmed a scene in which a traffic advisory sign “urges” Alvy to go to Annie in California. Editor Ralph Rosenblum wrote that Allen was so disgusted by the scene’s cuteness that he took the footage and threw it into the East River. The traffic-sign motif was later used in Steve Martin’s “L.A. Story.”

* The passerby Alvy refers to as “the winner of the Truman Capote look-alike contest” is in fact Truman Capote, who appears uncredited.

* Admiral Elmo Zumwalt appears on “The Dick Cavett Show” (1968) in the clip with Woody Allen (Alvy Singer).

* [June 2008] Ranked #2 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Romantic Comedy”.

* The movie’s line “Hey, don’t knock masturbation – it’s sex with someone I love!” was voted as the #78 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.

* * When Alvy is listing the reasons he doesn’t like the country, he mentions “the Manson family, and Dick and Perry” — Dick and Perry are references to Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, the two men who invaded the home of, and murdered, the Clutter family on their farm in Kansas in 1959.

Memorable quotes:
Alvy Singer: Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.
Alvy Singer: My grammy never gave gifts. She was too busy getting raped by Cossacks.
Annie Hall: La-di-da, la-di-da, la la.
[after sex with Annie]
Alvy Singer: That sex was the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing.
[In California]
Annie Hall: It’s so clean out here.
Alvy Singer: That’s because they don’t throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows.
Annie Hall: So you wanna go into the movie or what?
Alvy Singer: No, I can’t go into a movie that’s already started, because I’m anal.
Annie Hall: That’s a polite word for what you are.
Duane: Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist,I think you’ll understand. Sometimes when I’m driving… on the road at night… I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The… flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.
Alvy Singer: Right. Well, I have to – I have to go now, Duane, because I, I’m due back on the planet Earth.
[a guest is calling his meditation guru]
Party guest: Hello? I forgot my mantra.
Alvy Singer: What’s with all these awards? They’re always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.
[Alvy addresses a pair of strangers on the street]
Alvy Singer: Here, you look like a very happy couple, um, are you?
Female street stranger: Yeah.
Alvy Singer: Yeah? So, so, how do you account for it?
Female street stranger: Uh, I’m very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.
Male street stranger: And I’m exactly the same way.
Alvy Singer: I see. Wow. That’s very interesting. So you’ve managed to work out something?
[first lines]
Alvy Singer: [addressing the camera] There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. The… the other important joke, for me, is one that’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud’s “Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,” and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.
Alvy Singer: I don’t want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.
[after Annie parks the car]
Alvy Singer: Don’t worry. We can walk to the curb from here.
Annie Hall: Sometimes I ask myself how I’d stand up under torture.
Alvy Singer: You? You kiddin’? If the Gestapo would take away your Bloomingdale’s charge card, you’d tell ‘em everything.
Alvy Singer: Annie, there’s a big lobster behind the refrigerator. I can’t get it out. This thing’s heavy. Maybe if I put a little dish of butter sauce here with a nutcracker, it will run out the other side.
Annie Hall: Oh, you see an analyst?
Alvy Singer: Yeah, just for fifteen years.
Annie Hall: Fifteen years?
Alvy Singer: Yeah, I’m gonna give him one more year, and then I’m goin’ to Lourdes.
Alvy Singer: A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.
Alvy Singer: Love is too weak a word for what I feel – I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F’s, yes I have to invent, of course I – I do, don’t you think I do?
[Annie wants to smoke marijuana before sex]
Alvy Singer: Yeah, grass, right? The illusion that it will make a white woman more like Billie Holiday.
Annie Hall: Well, have you ever made love high?
Alvy Singer: Me? No. I – I, you know, If I have grass or alcohol or anything, I get unbearably wonderful. I get too, too wonderful for words. I don’t know why you have to get high every time we make love.
Annie Hall: It relaxes me.
Alvy Singer: You have to be artificially relaxed before we can go to bed?
Annie Hall: Well, what’s the difference anyway?
Alvy Singer: Well, I’ll give you a shot of sodium pentathol. You can sleep through it.
Annie Hall: Oh come on. Look who’s talking. You’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for 15 years. You should smoke some of this. You’d be off the couch in no time.
[Alvy is having sex with Annie]
Alvy Singer: Hey, is something wrong?
Annie Hall: No, why?
Alvy Singer: I don’t know. It’s like you’re removed.
[a ghost of Annie rises from herself, and sits in a chair to watch]
Annie Hall: No, I’m fine.
Alvy Singer: Are you with me?
Annie Hall: Uh, huh.
Alvy Singer: I don’t know. You seem sort of distant.
Annie Hall: Let’s just do it, all right?
Alvy Singer: Is it my imagination, or are you just going through the motions?
Ghost of Annie Hall: Alvy, do you remember where I put my drawing pad? Because while you two are doing that, I think I’m going to do some drawing.
Alvy Singer: [gesturing to the ghost] You see, that’s what I call removed.
[Alvy Singer does a stand-up comic act for a college audience]
Alvy Singer: I was thrown out of N.Y.U. my freshman year for cheating on my metaphysics final, you know. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me. When I was thrown out, my mother, who was an emotionally high-strung woman, locked herself in the bathroom and took an overdose of Mah-Jongg tiles. I was depressed at that time. I was in analysis. I was suicidal as a matter of fact and would have killed myself, but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian, and, if you kill yourself, they make you pay for the sessions you miss.
[Alvy confronts Annie about having an affair]
Alvy Singer: Well, I didn’t start out spying. I thought I’d surprise you. Pick you up after school.
Annie Hall: Yeah, but you wanted to keep the relationship flexible. Remember, it’s your phrase.
Alvy Singer: Oh stop it, you’re having an affair with your college professor, that jerk that teaches that incredible crap course, Contemporary Crisis in Western Man…
Annie Hall: Existential Motifs in Russian Literature. You’re really close.
Alvy Singer: What’s the difference? It’s all mental masturbation.
Annie Hall: Oh, well, now we’re finally getting to a subject you know something about.
Alvy Singer: Hey, don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.
Annie Hall: We’re not having an affair. He’s married. He just happens to think I’m neat.
Alvy Singer: “Neat.” What are you, 12 years old? That’s one of your Chippewa Falls expressions.
Annie Hall: Who cares? Who cares?
Alvy Singer: Next thing you know, he’ll find you keen and peachy, you know. Next thing you know, he’s got his hand on your ass.
Annie Hall: You’ve always had hostility towards David, ever since I mentioned him.
Alvy Singer: Dav – you call your teacher David?
Annie Hall: It’s his name.
Alvy Singer: It’s a Biblical name, right? What does he call you, Bathsheba?
Alvy Singer: It’s mental masturbation!
Annie Hall: And you would know all about THAT, wouldn’t you?
Alvy Singer: Hey, don’t knock masturbation! It’s sex with someone I love.
Annie Hall: So I told her about, about the family and about my feelings towards men and about my relationship with my brother. And then she mentioned penis envy. Do you know about that?
Alvy Singer: Me? I’m, I’m one of the few males who suffers from that.
[Alvy questions an old man on the street about his sex life]
Alvy Singer: With your wife in bed, does she need some kind of artificial stimulation, like, like marijuana?
Old man on street: We use a large vibrating egg.
Pam: Sex with you is really a Kafka-esque experience.
Alvy Singer: Oh. Thank you.
Pam: I mean that as a compliment.
Alvy Singer: I think, I think there’s too much burden placed on the orgasm, you know, to make up for empty areas in life.
Pam: Who said that?
Alvy Singer: It may have been Leopold and Loeb.
[Alvy sees a program from the Fillmore East and The National Review in Annie's apartment]
Alvy Singer: Are you going with a right-wing rock ‘n roll star?
Alvy Singer: Honey, there’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick.
[Alvy has killed two spiders]
Alvy Singer: I did it. I killed ‘em both.
[Annie starts crying]
Alvy Singer: What’s the matter? What are you sad about? What did you want me to do? Capture ‘em and rehabilitate ‘em?
Alvy Singer: You know, I don’t think I could take a mellow evening because I – I don’t respond well to mellow. You know what I mean? I have a tendency to – if I get too mellow, I – I ripen and then rot, you know.
[Alvy is asked to try cocaine]
Alvy Singer: I don’t want to put a wad of white powder in my nose. There’s the nasal membrane…
Annie Hall: You never want to try anything new, Alvy.
Alvy Singer: How can you say that? Whose idea was it? I said that you, I and that girl from your acting class should sleep together in a threesome.
Annie Hall: Well, that’s sick.
Alvy Singer: Yeah, I know it’s sick, but it’s new. You didn’t say it couldn’t be sick.
Annie Hall: Alvy, you’re incapable of enjoying life, you know that? I mean you’re like New York City. You’re just this person. You’re like this island unto yourself.
Alvy Singer: I can’t enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening.
Alvy Singer: I remember the staff at our public school. You know, we had a saying, uh, that those who can’t do teach, and those who can’t teach, teach gym. And, uh, those who couldn’t do anything, I think, were assigned to our school.
Alvy Singer: They did not take me in the Army. I was, um, interestingly enough, I was, I was 4-P. Yes. In the, in the event of war, I’m a hostage.
Annie Hall: You’re what Grammy Hall would call a real Jew.
Alvy Singer: Oh. Thank you.
Alvy Singer: In 1942 I had already discovered women.
[Young Alvy kisses girl in school]
Alvy’s Classmate: Yecch. He kissed me, he kissed me. Yecch.
Miss Reed: That’s the second time this month. Step up here.
Alvy at 9: What’d I do?
Miss Reed: Step up here.
Alvy at 9: What did I do?
Miss Reed: You should be ashamed of yourself.
Alvy Singer: Why? I was just expressing a healthy sexual curiosity.
Miss Reed: Six year old boys don’t have girls on their minds.
Alvy Singer: I did.
Alvy’s Classmate: For God’s sake, Alvy, even Freud speaks of a latency period.
Alvy Singer: Well, I never had a latency period. I can’t help it.
Alvy Singer: I’m so tired of spending evenings making fake insights with people who work for “Dysentery.”
Robin: “Commentary.”
Alvy Singer: Oh really? I had heard that “Commentary” and “Dissent” had merged and formed “Dysentery.”
Allison: I’m in the midst of doing my thesis.
Alvy Singer: On what?
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.
Alvy Singer: You, you, you’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.
Alvy Singer: Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.
Robin: There’s Henry Drucker. He has a chair in history at Princeton. Oh, and the short man is Hershel Kaminsky. He has a chair in philosophy at Cornell.
Alvy Singer: Yeah? Two more chairs they got a dining room set.
[last lines]
Alvy Singer: [narrating] After that it got pretty late, and we both had to go, but it was great seeing Annie again. I… I realized what a terrific person she was, and… and how much fun it was just knowing her; and I… I, I thought of that old joke, y’know, the, this… this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y’know, they’re totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and… but, uh, I guess we keep goin’ through it because, uh, most of us… need the eggs.
Alvy Singer: Sun is bad for you. Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat… college.
[Annie's family and Alvy's family converse through a split screen]
Mom Hall: How do you plan to spend the holidays, Mrs. Singer?
Alvy’s Mom: We fast.
Dad Hall: Fast?
Alvy’s Dad: No food. You know, to atone for our sins.
Mom Hall: What sins? I don’t understand.
Alvy’s Dad: To tell you the truth, neither do we.
[Alvy fantasizes being in love with the Wicked Queen from Snow White]
Wicked Queen: We never have any fun any more.
Alvy Singer: How can you say that?
Wicked Queen: Why not? You’re always leaning on me to improve myself.
Alvy Singer: You’re just upset. You must be getting your period.
Wicked Queen: I don’t get a period. I’m a cartoon character.
Alvy Singer: Lyndon Johnson is a politician, you know the ethics those guys have. It’s like a notch underneath child molester.
[Rob has bailed Alvy out of jail]
Rob: Imagine my surprise when I got your call, Max.
Alvy Singer: Yeah. I had the feeling that I got you at a bad moment. You know, I heard high-pitched squealing.
Rob: Twins, Max! 16 years-old. Can you imagine the mathematical possibilities?
Alvy Singer: [glum] You’re an actor, Max. You should be doing Shakespeare in the Park.
Rob: Oh, I did Shakespeare in the Park, Max. I got mugged. I was playing Richard the Second and two guys with leather jackets stole my leotard.
[Alvy and Annie are seeing their therapists at the same time on a split screen]
Alvy Singer’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?
Annie Hall’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?
Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.
Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week.
[On Pam being a Rosicrucian]
Alvy Singer: I can’t get with any religion that advertises in Popular Mechanics.
Alvy Singer: Oh my God, she’s right. Why did I turn off Allison Portchnik? She was beautiful, she was willing. She was real intelligent. Is it the old Groucho Marx joke that I’m – I just don’t want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member?
Alvy Singer: Hey, Harvard makes mistakes too! Kissinger taught there!
Alvy Singer: I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable.
Doctor in Brooklyn: Why are you depressed, Alvy?
Alvy’s Mom: Tell Dr. Flicker.
[Young Alvy sits, his head down - his mother answers for him]
Alvy’s Mom: It’s something he read.
Doctor in Brooklyn: Something he read, huh?
Alvy at 9: [his head still down] The universe is expanding.
Doctor in Brooklyn: The universe is expanding?
Alvy at 9: Well, the universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!
Alvy’s Mom: What is that your business?
[she turns back to the doctor]
Alvy’s Mom: He stopped doing his homework!
Alvy at 9: What’s the point?
Alvy’s Mom: What has the universe got to do with it? You’re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!
Doctor in Brooklyn: It won’t be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we’ve gotta try to enjoy ourselves while we’re here!
Pam: The only word for this is transplendent… it’s transplendent!
Alvy Singer: [the man behind him in line is talking loudly] What I wouldn’t give for a large sock with horse manure in it!
Alvy Singer: [to audience] Whaddya do when you get stuck in a movie line with a guy like this behind you?
Man in Theatre Line: Wait a minute, why can’t I give my opinion? It’s a free country!
Alvy Singer: He can give it… do you have to give it so loud? I mean, aren’t you ashamed to pontificate like that? And the funny part of it is, Marshall McLuhan, you don’t know anything about Marshall McLuhan!
Man in Theatre Line: Oh, really? Well, it just so happens I teach a class at Columbia called “TV, Media and Culture.” So I think my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity!
Alvy Singer: Oh, do ya? Well, that’s funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here, so, so, yeah, just let me…
[pulls McLuhan out from behind a nearby poster]
Alvy Singer: come over here for a second… tell him!
Marshall McLuhan: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!
Alvy Singer: Boy, if life were only like this!
Alvy Singer: Sylvia Plath – interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality.
Alvy Singer: Hey listen, gimme a kiss.
Annie Hall: Really?
Alvy Singer: Yeah, why not, because we’re just gonna go home later, right, and then there’s gonna be all that tension, we’ve never kissed before and I’ll never know when to make the right move or anything. So we’ll kiss now and get it over with, and then we’ll go eat. We’ll digest our food better.

— imdb

check out A Night at the Movies cinebuff.wordpress.com


Read Full Post »

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) is a classic film looking at British school system with a rose tinted glass. It might well be for the author of the book on which the film was based was a teacher himself. Mr. Chips was modeled on W.H. Balgarnie, James Hilton’s old classics master who taught for over 50 years at The Leys public school in Cambridge. James Hilton’s short novel of the same name was first published in the British Weekly and then in The Atlantic Monthly (April 1934 issue).

The plot is simple. It traces the life of a British schoolteacher guiding many generations of schoolboys through almost 60 years of education at the fictitious Brookfield School, from his early career days as a young classic scholar to his slightly doddering old age.
For authenticity’s sake, this melodrama was filmed at the Repton School that was founded in 1557, with actual students and faculty serving as extras in the cast.
The film was remade three times and none of these is as unforgettable as the 1939 version. (Herbert Ross’ big-budget musical drama/romance Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) with Peter O’Toole as the schoolmaster in an Oscar-nominated performance (he won the Golden Globe award for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy), as a 1984 BBC-TV mini-series with Roy Marsden, and as the 2002 made-for-TV movie for Masterpiece Theatre with Martin Clunes in the title role.)
Robert Donat rightly deserved his Oscar for Best Actor in the year of the giants: Clark Gable (Gone With the Wind), James Stewart (Mr.Smith Goes To Washington) and Laurence Olivier (Wuthering Heights) were other nominees for the same category.
Film In Depth

The film opens within the quadrangle of the revered Brookfield School, founded in 1492:

…one can almost feel the centuries…Gray old age, dreaming over a crowded past.

A train whistle blows, signaling the arrival of chattering, excited boys for the beginning of the new school term. They file into a building for an all-school assembly, and they are about to fulfil the time-honored tradition of the British boys’ school called ‘call-over.’ [The film ends with the same tradition.] A master stands at the doorway with a list of the names of each pupil, and the boys file past and call out their last name.

The film opens around the late 1920s.
The story of Mr. Charles Chipping (nicknamed “Mr. Chips”) at Brookfield is told through flashback memories, as he dozes as an old codger in front of a fire at Mrs. Wickett’s (Louise Hampton) place just across from the school:

A long time ago, yes. A long time. Things are different now. (He hears other voices: “Chips at Brookfield. Discipline, Mr. Chipping, discipline,” and the last names of boys during a typical ‘call-over.’)

He remembers how he arrived in 1870 at Brookfield Boys School as a shy, withdrawn 24 year-old Latin master, wearing a bowler hat. Appearing eager but uncertain as a novice on the “Brookfield special” train full of new “stinkers,” he is an easy target for their teasing.
The hold of the film on a viewer is built gradually. In the manner the awkward and cold school master copes with his fears of failure and disappointments (of being bypassed from becoming a housemaster with the retirement benefits and loss of his wife) we see the gift of love which abounds in one so noted for lack of  warmth and vision. A traditional British school life of the time one might think is an all-male prerogative with studies and cricket predominating. Mr. Chips for all his disadvantages was lucky to find a progressive English suffragate in his first summer vacation while cycling through Tyrol, Europe.
After being introduced to a new History master, a young graduate named Mr. Jackson (David Tree), Chipping remembers how it “took time – too much time” to become a beloved old schoolmaster.
Jackson:You seem to have found the secret in the end.
Chips: Hmm? What? The secret? Oh, yes, in the end. But I didn’t find it myself, Mr. Jackson. It was given to me by someone else. Someone else.
The grandeur of little people is not that they set the world on fire but they realize they could mold influences that came their way however small and make them go long way. In the present world the challenge of teaching as a profession is swamped under high paid jobs in the corporate world, teaching is far less considered as a welcome choice. Mr. Chips would have lived his life without fulfilling his potential had he not that vision. It was a gift passed on by his wife, Katherine Ellis, a charming, beautiful, spunky English girl from Bloomsbury (Greer Garson in her exceptional film debut.) She makes him thaw and see what a great calling he has.
Chipping: Do you suppose a person in middle age could start life over again and make a go of it?
Katherine: I’m sure of it. Quite sure. It must be tremendously interesting to be a schoolmaster.

Chipping: I thought so once.
Katherine: To watch boys grow up and help them along. To see their characters develop and what they become when they leave school and the world gets hold of them. I don’t see how you could ever get old in a world that’s always young.
Chipping: I never really thought of it that way. When you talk about it, you make it sound exciting and heroic.
Katherine: It is.

Give this core idea of a teacher who renews himself to mold so many ‘stinkers’ to take up responsible positions later in life is inspiring. One who accepts his humble position in life and keep the gift of life through the loss of his wife ( after just one year together she dies during delivery and also her infant) and loss of many other to war is touched by grandeur. Of course Robert Donat’s acting is so exceptional we are also moved to feel empathy for him as he advances well into old age.

Towards the end we see Mr.Chips ill and on his deathbed. He is in his eighties, in response to overhearing that he was a poor chap and must have had a lonely life by himself – with regrets because he never had children of his own, Mr. Chips stirs and refutes the remark:

Doctor: Poor old chap. He must have had a lonely life all by himself.
Headmaster: Not always by himself. He married, you know.
Doctor: Did he? I never knew about that.
Headmaster: She died, a long while ago.
Doctor: Pity. Pity he never had any children.
Chips: What, what was that you were saying about me?
Headmaster: Nothing at all old man. Nothing at all. We were just wondering when you were going to wake up out of that beauty sleep of yours.
Chips: I heard you. You were talking about me.
Headmaster: Nothing of consequence, old man. I give you my word.
Chips: I thought I heard you say ’twas a pity, a pity I never had children. But you’re wrong…I have…thousands of them…thousands of them…and all boys!

With his eyes closed, he smiles as the camera rises up when he passes on. He dreamily remembers many schoolboys filing past to repeat their names at call-over, while the music of the school song swells in volume in the background. The final lad, the superimposed image of the last Peter Colley, appears and speaks directly into the camera:
Goodbye, Mr. Chips…Goodbye...

The film was voted the 72nd greatest British film ever in the BFI Top 100 British films poll.
The film was shot at Winchester College and Denham Film Studios.
Directed by     Sam Wood
Produced by     Victor Saville
Written by     R.C. Sherriff
Claudine West
Eric Maschwitz
James Hilton (novel)
Music by     Richard Addinsell
Cinematography     Freddie Young
Editing by     Charles Frend
Distributed by     MGM
Running time     114 minutes
Language     English

Similar Movies
Dead Poets Society  (1989, Peter Weir)
The Browning Version  (1951, Anthony Asquith)
Mr. Holland’s Opus  (1995, Stephen Herek)
Cheers for Miss Bishop  (1941, Tay Garnett)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp  (1943, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)
Good Morning, Miss Dove  (1955, Henry Koster)
L’Ecole Buissonière  (1948, Jean-Paul Le Chanois)
The Browning Version  (1994, Mike Figgis, John K. Watson)
Selskaya Uchitelnitsa  (1947, Mark Donskoy)
Merlusse  (1935, Marcel Pagnol)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Random Harvest  (1942, Mervyn LeRoy)
Forever and a Day  (1943, René Clair, Edmund Goulding, Cedric Hardwicke, Victor Saville, Kent Smith, Robert Stevenson, Herbert Wilcox, Frank Lloyd)
For Whom the Bell Tolls  (1943, Sam Wood)
Knight Without Armour  (1937, Jacques Feyder)
The Young Mr. Pitt  (1942, Carol Reed)
The Devil and Miss Jones  (1941, Sam Wood)
Kitty Foyle  (1940, Sam Wood)
Julia Misbehaves  (1948, Jack Conway)
Other Related Movies
To Sir, With Love  (1967, James Clavell)
has been remade as:      Goodbye, Mr. Chips  (1969, Herbert Ross)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips  (2002, Stuart Orme)
(Ack:filmsite, allmovie, wikipedia)
compiler: benny

Read Full Post »

“The close quarter combat between Joan and her judges” is how Carl Theodor Dreyer described his vision of the film. It is set in a claustrophobic space in which we feel one with the Maid of Orleans. We also get caught up in the terror her face registers in the flurry of close-ups; her tremulous face intercut with the physiognomy of her oppressors, flat and unintelligent faces  remind one of Hieronymous Bosch. ‘Christ mocked’ and ‘Christ wearing a crown of thorns ’ for example. Much has been made of the film’s unusual number of close-ups; Dreyer uses the device to drag the viewer into the psyche of the subject. Maria Falconetti’s face, with its strange luminousness and mournful looks, present an ideal map for an unequal combat the evil clerics at the behest of the English wage on an emotional plane. Close-ups serve an ideal vehicle for that. The performance of Renee Maria Falconetti has been hailed as one of cinema’s greatest.
The minions who watch over the vulnerable in a prison are often noted for sadistic streak. When the tonsured tormentors pause for thinking up a fresh stratagem these oafs takeover in subjecting her to indignities. One such insult is platting of a crown on the maid’s head and the intended comparison to the Son of Man is very telling. The Church with its unlimited power shall always crucify the one who could bring salvation. The maid of Orleans was Christlike in wanting to rid the land of foreign occupation and she must die in ignominy. Perhaps we need to put this film in historical perspective: Joan of Arc was canonized by the Catholic Church only some seven years earlier.The movie is in a way vindication of the untutored heroine who dared to do the impossible purely on the strength of her inner calling.
The film like the maid had a checquered career. French nationalists objected to the idea of a Dane, and a non-Catholic one at that, interpreting the history of their beloved Joan. After its release, English censors objected to what it saw as unacceptably negative portrayals of the English forces who were partly responsible — in alliance with the corrupt French church — for the death of Joan. The Archbishop of Paris’s demand for changes was only the beginning of a series of mutilations. In 1933, the film, which failed at the box office in spite of many glowing reviews, resurfaced in a truncated version (82 minutes cut to 61)
In a surprise discovery that parallels Joan’s resurrection (as a historical hero) and rehabilitation in the pantheon of French heroes along with Foch,Napoleon and deGaulle, a complete original print of Dreyer’s original cut was found in a Norwegian mental hospital closet in 1981. The print had apparently been ordered by a doctor there in the 1930s. This version, called the “Oslo print” to distinguish it from its many predecessors, had some damage but was digitally restored to pristine condition with 20,320 individual changes.

Dreyer drew almost entirely on transcripts of Joan’s 1429 trial for his dialogue. If Dreyer disliked being labeled  “avant garde,” he did agree with “documentary” as a description. The film supports this in many respects. Dreyer’s demand for realism dictated some bizarre strategies. Perhaps the experience was too much for Mlle. Falconetti that she never again acted in another film. The actors were signed exclusively to him for the film’s shooting time from May to November 1927, so they had to “live” their roles to the point of keeping their hair cut so it never appeared to change. This was understandable for the lower churchmen who wore visible tonsures — bald heads with a fringe of hair. But Dreyer also demanded that the higher officials keep their tonsures cut, in spite of the fact that their hair was invisible under the grandiose caps they wore throughout. The cast occasionally got back at him, at least verbally. They secretly began referring to him as “Gruyere” because the set had as many “holes” (trenches Dreyer built for making low-angle shots) as Swiss cheese.

He refused to allow his actors to use makeup, an unheard-of demand at that time. He even dropped the credits — they were later restored — in order to increase the viewer’s belief in the story. He also disavowed musical scores (though the film was presented with them) as distracting and antithetical to the reality of the onscreen world.
But the thrust of the film is the power of spiritual opposition to earthly ambition and corruption, a theme so pervasive and felt that even the architecture supports it. Joan is seen mostly in isolated shots, emblems of her lonely battle against the church and the military, but behind her the viewer is always aware of the serene, almost glowing white walls, a constant reminder of Joan’s purity and transcendence in the face of corrupt earthly forces.

Dreyer would go on to create at least three classics of world cinema (Day of Wrath, Ordet, and Gertrud), but in some ways this is his most radical film. he saw as above all a human document. It’s hard to think of a better term, however, for the film’s visual style. There’s the famous use (some said over-use) of close-ups; surprising images such as the “upside-down and backward” shot of English soldiers; and the swinging camera that makes a building appear to be moving.
The startled flight of pigeons from the Church spires as Joan is being burnt may be a cliché now but then it must have come as very refreshingly new.
The film’s realism — helped immeasurably by Rudolph Mate’s brilliant cinematography — it’s also one of the most stylized, unrealistic in the annals of cinema. Production designer Hermann Warm, famous for his expressionist sets for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, based his work here on a combination of medieval woodcuts and the then-voguish surrealist movement. This is seen in the otherworldly white architecture that recalls the still, strange world of the painter De Chirico.
Dreyer as mentioned before was always known as a controlling, dictatorial director, and with a then-vast budget of $7 million francs (which bloated to $9 million by the end of shooting), he was allowed some luxuries that few filmmakers would see, before or since. He had an enormous, expensive three-dimensional set built, almost none of which is seen in recognizable form in the movie (much to the producers’ chagrin). He shot reams of film, which unexpectedly paid off later when he was forced to construct a new negative out of the ample supply of alternate takes. The film’s over 1,300 individual shots is more than twice the number found in an average feature of the time.
Scenes from Passion appear in Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa Vie (1962), in which the protagonist Nana sees the film at a cinema and identifies with Joan. In Henry & June, Henry Miller is shown watching the last scenes of the film and in voiceover narrates a letter to Anaïs Nin comparing her to Joan and himself to the “mad monk” character played by Antonin Artaud.

The Passion of Joan of Arc has appeared on Sight & Sound’s top ten films poll three times:

* 1952: #7[5]
* 1972: #7[6]
* 1992: #10 (Critic’s List)and #6 (Director’s List)[7]

It placed 31st in the 2002 Director’s poll and 14th on the Critic’s poll. Maria Falconetti’s performance was named the 26th greatest ever on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
Memorable Quotes:
Juge(judge): How old are you?
Jeanne d’Arc: [counts on her fingers] Nineteen… I think.
Juge: What is your name?
Jeanne d’Arc: In France, I am called Joan… in my village, I am called Jeanneton.
Jeanne d’Arc: [talking to God] Will I be with You tonight in Paradise?
Juge: Has God promised you things?
Jeanne d’Arc: That has nothing to do with this trial!
Maria Falconetti     …     Jeanne d’Arc
Eugene Silvain    …     Évêque Pierre Cauchon (Bishop Pierre Cauchon)
André Berley    …     Jean d’Estivet
Maurice Schutz    …     Nicolas Loyseleur
Antonin Artaud    …     Jean Massieu
Michel Simon    …     Jean Lemaître
Jean d’Yd    …     Guillaume Evrard
Louis Ravet    …     Jean Beaupère (as Ravet)
Armand Lurville    …     Juge (Judge) (as André Lurville)
Jacques Arnna    …     Juge (Judge)
Alexandre Mihalesco    …     Juge (Judge)
Léon Larive    …     Juge (Judge)

* After completing the original cut of the film, director Carl Theodor Dreyer learned that the entire master print had been accidentally destroyed. With no ability to re-shoot, Dreyer re-edited the entire film from footage he had originally rejected.

* Real blood from a real puncture wound was used in the scene in which Joan’s arm is cut, but it was that of a stand-in and not Maria Falconetti.

* The film took a year and a half to complete.

Ack: http://www.brightlights.com Gary Morris,January 2000 | Issue 27,wikipedia,imdb.com
My special thanks go to Maid Marian classic films for letting me watch the film(with French subtitles). Share the experience and support http://www.youtube.com/maidmarian.

Compiler: benny

Read Full Post »

Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 drama film based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. It was directed by the British director John Schlesinger who had directed previously Julie Cristie in the much critically acclaimed Darling (1965)). Dustin Hoffman took a calculated risk in accepting the role of Ratzo. The lead role was however played by then-newcomer Jon Voight. (For Hoffman, the role enabled him to avoid any typecasting: such a vast contrast in the role of Benjamin in The Graduate from Rizzo ‘Ratzo’ established him as an actor of considerable dramatic range. Voight went on to have a long, respectable acting career himself, with roles in Catch-22, Deliverance, Conrack, The Champ, Coming Home, National Treasure and other movies.)
Notable smaller roles are filled by Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, and Barnard Hughes. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. it is the only X-rated film to win an Oscar in any category.
The film follows the story of a modern day Candide whose unbounded optimism is expressed around his sexual prowess. He is young and a Texan named Joe Buck (Jon Voight). We see him at the beginning of the film washing dishes in a diner. He wishes to leave the restaurant, declaring to a workmate, “What the hell have I got to sit around here for?” He dresses himself like a rodeo cowboy, packs a suitcase, and quits his job. He heads to New York City in the hope of making it rich as a “kept” man. He tells people he meets, “I ain’t a for-real cowboy, but I am one hell of a stud!”He is completely amoral and holds no gender preferences. He is willing to serve old goats or hags provided  they throw their money to keep him well heeled.
The events of Joe’s life are told in mostly chronological order, interspersed by flashbacks. Much of the film is taken up with his vicissitudes and his disenchantment with the reality of New York that he found there. The movie is set out as a road movie and  veers soon into a buddy movie. In the end Joe when he seems to have found his foothold on the seamier side of the Big Apple sacrifices it all for the sake of his friend and leaves for Florida. On reaching the destination he is honest enough to admit that he could build a more scaled down dream there.
Joe throws away his cowboy outfit, and declares “I ain’t no kinda hustler.”

Director’s Art
This film ultimately is the showcase for the directorial brilliance of John Schlesinger. It also brings to light the difference in the presentation of two mediums: the book is in three parts, in which the first part deals with the rearing of Joe Buck while the second part concerns with the picaresque journey of the naïve Texan and the predatory aspect of the Metropolis for the unwary. The third part begins with a Warholesque party and Joe Buck’s first success in hustling. The book ends with his trip, which ends in Miami.
The film altogether skips the first part and brings certain salient aspects of his life prior to boarding the greyhound bus in a series of flashbacks. Only 15 minutes of the movie has elapsed since he alights in New York. By cutting and compressing two fifths of the book Schlesinger changed central focus of the book. In his visual invention and emphasis he brings home an insight which is more his own. If the book is woven around Joe Buck, whose dream is crushed by the reality the film underscores more of the friendship between two losers, that of Joe and Ratso in a hostile environment. John Schlesinger succeeds in presenting their burgeoning friendship without sentimentality: using the cinematic idiom he melds the human predicament with all its folly and amorality with dehumanizing glitzy underbelly of the Metropolis, which is commerce. With an eye for beauty he juxtaposes friendship no matter how unprepossessing their outward circumstances are against nobility of human spirit (represented in their care and compassion) he makes the film as a whole emotionally satisfying.

* Dustin Hoffman as Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo
* Jon Voight as Joe Buck
* Sylvia Miles as Cass
* John McGiver as Mr. O’Daniel
* Brenda Vaccaro as Shirley
* Barnard Hughes as Towny
The line “I’m walkin’ here!”reached #27 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes
Directed by     John Schlesinger
Produced by     Jerome Hellman
Written by     James Leo Herlihy
Waldo Salt
Music by     John Barry
Cinematography     Adam Holender
Editing by     Hugh A. Robertson
Distributed by     United Artists
Running time     113 min.

Language     English
Budget     $3.6 million
Gross revenue     $44,785,053

Read Full Post »

According to the film critic Roger Ebert ‘The movie’s simplistic approach to mental illness is not really a fault of the movie, because it has no interest in being about insanity. It is about a free spirit in a closed system’. But when Forman-Saentz team who gave us Amadeus have had dealt with Ken Kesey’s book of the same title(1962) the film became a top hit. The movie was the first to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, Screenplay) since It Happened One Night in 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991, by The Silence of the Lambs.
The movie was filmed at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, which was the setting of the novel.


Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a recidivist criminal serving a short prison term on a work farm for statutory rape, is transferred to a mental institution little does he know what is in store for him there. He had manipulated the system for such a transfer where he’ll now be able to serve out the rest of his sentence in relative comfort and ease.

His ward in the mental institution is run by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), a nasty villain whom you love to hate.( Nurse Ratched is currently rated #7 on the Internet Movie Database list of 50 Greatest Villains).
She doesn’t lashout or whip whom she wishes to bring to heel. Mostly her patients are “voluntary” patients anyway,- who are there by choice. While McMurphy initially has little respect for his fellow patients, his antiauthoritarian nature is aroused. What began as a little fun, to bring down her a peg or two,- strictly for laughs is gradually ratcheted into a fullblown fight on his part for the hearts and minds of the patients. She could take him on calmly since she represents authority: when he finds out only later that Ratched has the power to keep him there indefinitely we begin to see beyond his criminal record and learn to sympathizea little with him. He represents like you and me an individual and not a depersonalized number bristling at the unfair way she has stacked all the chips in her favour. Rather than have him transferred, Ratched sees his behavior as a personal affront and becomes obsessed with winning this contest.

McMurphy gradually forms deep friendships in the ward with a group of men which includes Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif), a suicidal, stuttering and helpless young man whom Ratched has humiliated and dominated, and “Chief” Bromden (Will Sampson), a 6’ 5” muscular Native American. Believed by the patients to be deaf and unable to speak, Chief is mostly ignored and he becomes his only real confidant, as they both see their struggles against authority in similar terms.

McMurphy at first uses the chief as an advantage (for example, in playing basketball). Later, they and patient Charlie Cheswick (Sydney Lassick) are detained for being involved in a fight with the ward attendants. Cheswick undergoes electroshock therapy, while McMurphy and Chief wait their turn on a bench. While they wait, McMurphy offers Chief a piece of Juicy Fruit gum, and Bromden verbally thanks him. A surprised McMurphy discovers that Chief uses his’debility’ as a weapon against the authority. He rebels as McMurphy but in a different way. McMurphy hatches a plan that will allow himself and Bromden to escape. Following his “therapy,” McMurphy jokingly feigns catatonia before assuring his cohorts and Nurse Ratched that the attempt to subdue him didn’t work.

One night McMurphy sneaks into the nurse’s station and calls his girlfriend, Candy, and tells her to bring booze. He also takes Billy along. Another woman tags along and both enter the ward after McMurphy bribes the night watchman, Mr. Turkle (Scatman Crothers). They are found out probably because of the extant neuroleptic drugs (Thorazine, etc.) in their systems.

When Nurse Ratched arrives the next morning she commands the attendants to clean up the patients and conduct a head count. Billy is found in a room sleeping with Candy. When he announces that he is not ashamed with what he done, Nurse Ratched then threatens that she will tell his mother about it. Billy breaks down, and after being carried into the doctor’s office, kills himself by slitting his throat. McMurphy, furious tries to strangle her. McMurphy is subdued and taken away again.

A few days later, the patients are seen playing cards as usual. Nurse Ratched, her vocal cords damaged by McMurphy’s previous attack, is forced to speak through a microphone for the patients to hear her, and finds that she is now no longer able to intimidate them. Later that night, Chief Bromden sees McMurphy being returned to his bed. When the Chief approaches him, he finds to his horror that he has been given a lobotomy. Unwilling to leave McMurphy behind, the Chief suffocates his neurologically disabled friend with a pillow. He follows Randle’s plan for escape by heroically hoisting a very heavy hydrotherapy control panel (which McMurphy had tried to lift earlier) and hurling it through a barred window. He is last seen fleeing the institution.


Kirk Douglas originated the role of McMurphy in a stage production, and then bought the film rights, hoping to play McMurphy on the screen. He passed the production rights to his son, Michael Douglas, who decided his father was too old for the role. Kirk was reportedly angry at his son for a time afterwards because of this. Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman were considered to play the lead.

The role of domineering Nurse Ratched was turned down by six actresses, Anne Bancroft, Colleen Dewhurst, Geraldine Page, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fonda, and Angela Lansbury, until Louise Fletcher accepted casting only a week before filming began.
Actor     Role
Jack Nicholson     Randle Patrick McMurphy
Louise Fletcher     Nurse Mildred “Big Nurse” Ratched
William Redfield     Dale Harding
Dean R. Brooks     Dr. John Spivey
Scatman Crothers     Orderly Turkle
Danny DeVito     Martini
William Duell     Jim Sefelt
Brad Dourif     Billy Bibbit
Christopher Lloyd     Jim Taber
Will Sampson     Chief Bromden
Vincent Schiavelli     Frederickson
Nathan George     Attendant Washington
Sydney Lassick     Charlie Cheswick
Louisa Moritz     Rose

The film marked the film debuts of Sampson, Dourif and Lloyd. It was one of the first films for DeVito. (DeVito and Lloyd co-starred several years later on the television series Taxi.)
Directed by     Miloš Forman
Produced by     Michael Douglas
Saul Zaentz
Written by     screenplay by Lawrence Hauben
Bo Goldman
based on the novel by Ken Kesey
Music by     Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography     Haskell Wexler
Editing by     Sheldon Kahn
Lynzee Klingman
Running time     133 min.
Country     United States
Language     English
Budget     $4,400,000
Gross revenue     $112,000,000

Title interpretation

The title is derived from an American children’s folk rhyme.

Wire, briar, limber-lock
Three geese in a flock
One flew east, one flew west
And one flew over the cuckoo’s nest

It loses a bit of the significance it has in the novel, where it is part of a rhyme Chief Bromden remembers from his childhood. This detail was not included in the film.
Memorable Quotes:
McMurphy: Which one of you nuts has got any guts?
McMurphy: That’s right, Mr. Martini. There is an Easter Bunny.
Chief Bromden: My pop was real big. He did like he pleased. That’s why everybody worked on him. The last time I seen my father, he was blind and diseased from drinking. And every time he put the bottle to his mouth, he don’t suck out of it, it sucks out of him until he shrunk so wrinkled and yellow even the dogs didn’t know him.
McMurphy: Killed him, huh?
Chief Bromden: I’m not saying they killed him. They just worked on him. The way they’re working on you.
McMurphy: I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this.
McMurphy: I’m a goddamn marvel of modern science.
Taber: Jack Dumpey’s full of shit!
[McMurphy is pretending to watch the World Series on TV]
McMurphy: Someone get me a fucking wiener before I die.
Nurse Ratched: Aren’t you ashamed?
Billy: No, I’m not.
[Applause from friends]
Nurse Ratched: You know Billy, what worries me is how your mother is going to take this.
Billy: Um, um, well, y-y-y-you d-d-d-don’t have to t-t-t-tell her, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: I don’t have to tell her? Your mother and I are old friends. You know that.
Billy: P-p-p-please d-d-don’t tell my m-m-m-mother.
McMurphy: A little dab’ll do ya.
McMurphy: What are you doin’ here? You oughta be out in a convertible bird-doggin’ chicks and bangin’ beaver.
McMurphy: Is that crazy enough for ya’? Want me to take a shit on the floor?
McMurphy: [about shock treatments] They was giving me ten thousand watts a day, you know, and I’m hot to trot! The next woman takes me on’s gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars!
McMurphy: She was fifteen years old, going on thirty-five, Doc, and she told me she was eighteen, she was very willing, I practically had to take to sewing my pants shut. Between you and me, uh, she might have been fifteen, but when you get that little red beaver right up there in front of you, I don’t think it’s crazy at all and I don’t think you do either. No man alive could resist that, and that’s why I got into jail to begin with. And now they’re telling me I’m crazy over here because I don’t sit there like a goddamn vegetable. Don’t make a bit of sense to me. If that’s what being crazy is, then I’m senseless, out of it, gone-down-the-road, wacko. But no more, no less, that’s it.
Candy: [innocently] You all crazy?
McMurphy: In one week, I can put a bug so far up her ass, she don’t know whether to shit or wind her wristwatch.
McMurphy: I’m here to cooperate with you a hundred percent. A hundred percent. I’ll be just right down the line with ya’. You watch.
[the inmates are playing cards and betting with cigarettes]
Martini: [rips a cigarette in half] I bet a nickel.
McMurphy: Dime’s the limit, Martini.
Martini: I bet a dime.
[Puts the two halves onto the table]
McMurphy: This is not a dime, Martini. This is a dime.
[shows a whole cigarette]
McMurphy: If you break it in half, you don’t get two nickels, you get shit. Try and smoke it. You understand?
Martini: Yes.
McMurphy: You don’t understand.
McMurphy: What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy or somethin’? Well you’re not! You’re not! You’re no crazier than the average asshole out walkin’ around on the streets and that’s it.
McMurphy: Why don’t ya shut your goddamn mouth and play some music.
[McMurphy, getting Chief into the basketball game]
McMurphy: Hit me, Chief, I got the moves!
Nurse Ratched: If Mr. McMurphy doesn’t want to take his medication orally, I’m sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. But I don’t think that he would like it.
[McMurphy turns around to see Harding smiling at him]
McMurphy: Heh, YOU’D like it, wouldn’t you?
[to Harding, regarding the pills]
McMurphy: Here, give it to me
Chief Bromden: Mmmmmm, Juicy Fruit.
[about Nurse Ratched]
McMurphy: Well I don’t wanna break up the meeting or nothin’, but she’s somethin’ of a cunt, ain’t she Doc?
Dr. Spivey: Well, the real reason that you’ve been sent over here is because they wanted you to be evaluated… to determine whether or not you are mentally ill. This is the real reason. Why do you think they might think that?
McMurphy: Well, as near as I can figure out, it’s ’cause I, uh, fight and fuck too much.
McMurphy: Get out of my way son, you’re usin’ my oxygen.
McMurphy: Nurse Ratched, Nurse Ratched! The Chief voted! Now will you please turn on the television set?
Nurse Ratched: [she opens the glass window] Mr. McMurphy, the meeting was adjourned and the vote was closed.
McMurphy: But the vote was 10 to 8. The Chief, he’s got his hand up! Look!
Nurse Ratched: No, Mr. McMurphy. When the meeting was adjourned, the vote was 9 to 9.
McMurphy: [exasperated] Aw come on, you’re not gonna say that now! You’re not gonna say that now! You’re gonna pull that hen house shit? Now when the vote… the Chief just voted – it was 10 to 9. Now I want that television set turned on *right now*!
[Nurse Ratched closes the glass window]
McMurphy: You’re not an idiot. Huh! You’re not a goddamn looney now, boy. You’re a fisherman!
Nurse Pilbow: Don’t get upset, Mr. McMurphy.
McMurphy: I’m not getting upset, Nurse Pilbow. I just don’t want anyone to slip me salt peter!
[telling McMurphy about Chief]
Billy: He-he-he can’t hear you. He’s a d-d-deaf and d-d-dumb Indian.
McMurphy: [pointing to naked woman on playing card] Where do you suppose she lives?
McMurphy: We’re just having a little party.
Orderly Turkle: Party my ass, this ain’t no nightclub!
Night Nurse: Mr. Turkle?
McMurphy: Where the fuck is he, why doesn’t he answer her?
Taber: He’s jerkin’ off somewhere.
Orderly Turkle: Ain’t no one jerkin’ off nowhere muthafucker!
McMurphy: Turkle what the fuck are you doing in here? Go out and talk to her.
Orderly Turkle: I’m doin’ the same fuckin’ thing your doin’- hidin’!
[last lines]
Chief Bromden: Mac… they said you escaped. I knew you wouldn’t leave without me. I was waiting for you. Now we can make it, Mac; I feel big as a damn mountain.
[he suddenly sees the lobotomy scars]
Chief Bromden: Oh, no…
Chief Bromden: [embracing McMurphy] I’m not goin’ without you, Mac. I wouldn’t leave you this way… You’re coming with me.
Chief Bromden: [laying him down] Let’s go.
McMurphy: But I tried, didn’t I? Goddamnit, at least I did that.
McMurphy: Who’s the head bull-goose loony around here?
Orderly Turkle: Oh shit, the supervisor!
Nurse Ratched: Your hand is staining my window.
McMurphy: Jesus Christ! D’you nuts wanna play cards or do ya wanna fuckin’ jerk off?
McMurphy: Koufax looks down! He’s looking at the great Mickey Mantle now! Here comes the pitch! Mantle swings! It’s a fucking home run!
[loud cheering from the patients]
Young Psychiatrist: Have you ever heard of the old saying “a rolling stone gathers no moss?”
McMurphy: Yeah.
Young Psychiatrist: Does that mean something to you?
McMurphy: Uh… tt’s the same as “don’t wash your dirty underwear in public.”
Young Psychiatrist: I’m not sure I understand what you mean.
McMurphy: [smiling] I’m smarter than him, ain’t I?
McMurphy: Well, that sort of has always meant, is, uh, it’s hard for something to grow on something that’s moving.
Psychiatrist: Dr. Sanji?
Dr. Sanji: I don’t think he’s overly psychotic, but, I still think he’s quite sick.
Psychiatrist: You think he’s dangerous?
Dr. Sanji: Absolutely so.
McMurphy: [pretending to watch the World Series on TV] Koufax… Koufax kicks. He delivers. It’s up the middle! It’s a base hit! Richardson is rounding first. He’s going for second. The ball’s into deep right center. Davis cuts the ball off! Here comes the throw. He throws it to second! He slides! He’s in there! He’s safe! It’s a double.! Richardson’s on second base!
[McMurphy gets up as the other patients come to see what he's doing]
McMurphy: Koufax is in big fucking trouble! Big trouble, baby! All right. Tresh is the next batter. Tresh looks in. Koufax… Koufax gets a sign from Roseboro. He kicks once. He pumps. He fires. It’s a strike! Koufax’s curve ball is snapping off like a fucking firecracker! All right, here he comes with the next pitch. Tresh swings. It’s a long fly ball to deep left center!
[patients cheer]
McMurphy: It’s going! It’s gone! Let’s hear it! One way!
Harding: I’m not just talking about my wife, I’m talking about my LIFE, I can’t seem to get that through to you. I’m not just talking about one person, I’m talking about everybody. I’m talking about form. I’m talking about content. I’m talking about interrelationships. I’m talking about God, the devil, Hell, Heaven. Do you understand… FINALLY?
McMurphy: What are we doing in here, Chief? Huh? What’s us two guys doing in this fucking place? Let’s get out of here. Out.
Chief Bromden: Canada?
McMurphy: Canada. We’ll be there before these sonofabitches know what hit ‘em. Listen to Randall on this one.
McMurphy: When we get to Canada…
McMurphy: I can’t take it no more. I gotta get outta here.
Chief Bromden: I can’t. I just can’t.
McMurphy: It’s easier than you think, Chief.
Chief Bromden: For you, maybe. You’re a lot bigger than me.
Taber: [Taber is picking on Harding as he plays Monopoly with Martini]
[pushing his back]
Taber: Come on, Harding. Play the game. Play it!
Harding: I am playing the game! Stop bothering me! I can’t concentrate!
Taber: [pushing him again] Play the game, Harding. Come on!
Harding: [shouting] You keep your hands off me, YOU SON OF A BITCH!
[first lines]
Attendant Warren: Good morning, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: Good morning.
Attendant Washington: Good morning, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: Mr. Washington.
Miller: Morning.
Nurse Ratched: Good morning.
Nurse Pilbow: Good morning, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: Good morning.
Attendant Washington: Morning, Bancini.
Bancini: Morning.
Attendant Washington: How do you feel?
Bancini: Rested.
Nurse Pilbow: Medication time. Medication time.

*  The role of McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson) among others was offered to James Caan.

* Many extras were authentic mental patients.

* Louise Fletcher was signed a week before filming began, after auditioning repeatedly over six months; director Milos Forman had told her each time that she just wasn’t approaching the part correctly, but kept calling her back.

* Danny DeVito reprised his performance from a 1971 off-Broadway revival.

* The cast and crew had to become accustomed to working with extras and supporting crew members who were inmates at the Oregon State Mental Hospital; each member of the professional cast and crew inevitably worked closely with at least two or three mental patients.

* Most of Jack Nicholson’s scene with Dean R. Brooks upon arriving at the hospital was improvised – including his slamming a stapler, asking about a fishing photo, and discussing his rape conviction; Brooks’s reactions were authentic.

* Before shooting began, director Milos Forman screened the film Titicut Follies (1967) for the cast to help them get a feel for life in a mental institution.

* Mel Lambert, who played the harbor master, was a local businessman rather than an actor; he had a strong relationship with Native Americans throughout the area, and it was he who suggested Will Sampson for the role of Chief Bromden.

* With the exception of the fishing segment (which was filmed last), the film was shot in sequence.

* Director Milos Forman relied heavily on reaction shots to pull more characters into scenes. In some group therapy scenes, there were ten minutes of Jack Nicholson’s reactions filmed even if he had very little dialogue. The shot of Louise Fletcher looking icily at Nicholson after he returns from shock therapy was actually her irritated reaction to a piece of direction from Forman.

* The script called for McMurphy to leap on a guard and kiss him when first arriving at the hospital. During filming, director Milos Forman decided that the guard’s reaction wasn’t strong enough and told Nicholson to jump on the other guard instead. This surprised the actor playing the second guard greatly, and in some versions he can be seen punching Nicholson.

* Ken Kesey, who wrote the original novel, said he would never watch the movie version and even sued the movie’s producers because it wasn’t shown from Chief Bromden’s perspective (as the novel is).

* Cameo: [Saul Zaentz] [- the film's producer appears as a man at the inmates' bus outing.]

* Cameo: [Anjelica Huston] Jack Nicholson’s one-time girlfriend appears as one of the crowd on the pier as the fishing excursion returns.

* Louise Fletcher only realized that the part of Nurse Ratched was a hotly contested role among all the leading actresses of the day when a reporter visiting the set happened to casually mention it.

* This story was based on author Ken Kesey’s experiences while working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, California.

* The fishing trip sequence was filmed at Depoe Bay, Oregon – the smallest harbor in the world.

* In order to produce the film, Michael Douglas quit the show “The Streets of San Francisco” (1972).

* Though veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler is credited here as DP, he was actually replaced by Bill Butler early in the shoot due to various creative differences with producer Michael Douglas.

* During most of the film’s shooting, William Redfield was ill. He died several months after the film was completed.

* According to Michael Douglas, director Milos Forman had his heart set on Burt Reynolds to play the part of McMurphy.

* The musical theme by Jack Nitzsche played during the opening and closing was based on the chord structure of the song “Please Release Me”.

* Lily Tomlin wanted to play Nurse Ratched, but was committed at the time to Nashville (1975).

* In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #33 Greatest Movie of All Time.

* During filming, a crew member running cables left a second story window open at the Oregon State Mental Hospital and an actual patient climbed through the bars and fell to the ground, injuring himself. The next day The Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon reported the incident with the headline on the front page “One flew OUT of the cuckoo’s nest”.

* During production, Nicholson and Forman spoke to each other through the cinematographer, but faked a friendly relationship when the media and studio personnel would show up to the set.

* Milos Forman had considered Shelley Duvall for the role of Candy. While screening Thieves Like Us (1974) to see if she was right for the role, he became interested in Louise Fletcher, who had a supporting role, and decided to cast her as Nurse Ratched.

* Louise Fletcher was so upset with the fact that the other actors could laugh and be happy while she had to be so cold and heartless that near the end of production she removed her dress and stood in only her panties to prove to the actors she was not “a cold-hearted monster”.

* Will Sampson, who plays Chief Bromden, was a park ranger in Oregon in a park near where the movie was filmed. He was selected for the part because he was the only Native American the Casting Department could find who matched the character’s incredible size.

* Kirk Douglas starred in the 1963 Broadway production after buying the film rights prior to publication. Kirk had met Milos Forman in Prague while on a State Department tour and promised to send him the book after deciding he would be a good director for the film; the book never arrived, probably confiscated by censors of the Czech government, which was Communist at the time. Ken Kesey wrote a screenplay for the production, but Forman rejected it because Kesey insisted on keeping Chief Bromden’s first-person narration.

* During the ECT scene, McMurphy says “A little dab will do ya” as the nurse is putting conductor gel on the side of his head. This phrase, not in the original script, is a reference to the advertising jingle of Brylcreem hair cream, which was a popular hair care product for men in the 1960s and 1970s.

The film went on to win a total of five Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Jack Nicholson (who played McMurphy), Best Actress for Louise Fletcher (who played Nurse Ratched), Best Direction for Miloš Forman, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman.

Today, the film is considered to be one of the greatest American films and is ranked at number 33 on the American Film Institute’s list of AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies.
( Ack:imdb,filmsite,wikipedia)

check out Loves of a blonde, another Forman film cinebuff.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

The 1932 publication of Charles Nordhoff and James Norton Hall’s Mutiny on the Bounty sparked a revival of interest in the  1789 ship mutiny, and MGM studio with their policy of bringing famous literature to celluloid bought the film rights. This 1935 MGM movie version won the Oscar for Best Picture. The movie chronicles the real-life mutiny aboard the Bounty and its aftermath in a series of trials. The film was one of the biggest hits of its time and remains a classic today.

Was the ship’s captain, William Bligh really a villain? Bligh is depicted as a brutal, sadistic disciplinarian. Particular episodes include a keelhauling and flogging a dead man. Neither of these happened. Keel hauling was used rarely if at all and had been abandoned long before Bligh’s time. Indeed the meticulous record of the Bounty’s log reveals that the flogging rate was lower than the average for that time. There are quite a few  historical inaccuracies that however do not detract the appeal of this movie over the audience.

Clark Gable stars as Fletcher Christian, first mate of the infamous HMS Bounty, skippered by Captain William Bligh (Charles Laughton), the cruelest taskmaster on the Seven Seas. Bligh’s villainy knows no bounds: he is even willing to flog a dead man if it will strengthen his hold over the crew. Christian despises Bligh and is sailing on the Bounty under protest. During the journey back to England, Bligh’s cruelties become more than Christian can bear; and after the captain indirectly causes the death of the ship’s doctor, the crew stages a mutiny, with Christian in charge. Bligh and a handful of officers loyal to him are set adrift in an open boat. Through sheer force of will, he guides the tiny vessel on a 49-day, 4000-mile journey to the Dutch East Indies without losing a man. No small feat for a pedantic, unimaginative sea-captain! The movie struck gold at the box office, and, in addition to the Best Picture Oscar, Gable, Laughton, and Franchot Tone as one of the Bounty’s crew were all nominated for Best Actor (they all lost to Victor McLaglan in The Informer). The film was adapted into the “revisionist” 1984 feature The Bounty with Mel Gibson as Fletcher Christian and Anthony Hopkins as Captain Bligh.
Although its historical accuracy has been seriously questioned (inevitable as it is based in a novel about the facts, not the facts themselves) it is considered by film critics to be the best film inspired by the mutiny.
A 1962 three-hours-plus widescreen Technicolor remake, starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian and Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh, was a disaster both critically and financially at the time, but has come to be reevaluated by critics for being closer to the facts.

(ack: Hal Erickson)

Similar Movies
Billy Budd  (1962, Peter Ustinov)
Damn the Defiant!  (1962, Lewis Gilbert)
His Majesty O’Keefe  (1953, Byron Haskin)
The Hurricane  (1937, John Ford, Stuart Heisler)
The Sea Wolf  (1941, Michael Curtiz)
Treasure Island  (1934, Victor Fleming)
Across to Singapore  (1928, William Nigh)
Mutiny  (1952, Edward Dmytryk)
Red River  (1948, Howard Hawks)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Forever and a Day  (1943, René Clair, Edmund Goulding, Cedric Hardwicke, Victor Saville, Kent Smith, Robert Stevenson, Herbert Wilcox, Frank Lloyd)
The Charge of the Light Brigade  (1936, Michael Curtiz)
China Seas  (1935, Tay Garnett)
Captain Blood  (1935, Michael Curtiz)
The Mystery of Mr. X  (1934, Edgar Selwyn)
The Adventures of Robin Hood  (1938, Michael Curtiz, William Keighley)
The Man on the Eiffel Tower  (1949, Burgess Meredith)
The Pearl of Death  (1944, Roy William Neill)
Other Related Movies
The Bounty  (1984, Roger Donaldson)
The Caine Mutiny  (1954, Edward Dmytryk)
Mutiny on the Bounty  (1962, Lewis Milestone)
You Are There: Mr. Christian Seizes The Bounty
Biography: Captain Bligh – Mutiny on the Bounty

Cast and Other details:

Directed by     Frank Lloyd
Produced by     Irving Thalberg
Written by     Charles Nordhoff and
James Norman Hall (novel)
Talbot Jennings
Jules Furthman
Carey Wilson
Starring     Charles Laughton
Clark Gable
Franchot Tone
Music by     Herbert Stothart
Cinematography     Arthur Edeson
Editing by     Margaret Booth
Distributed by     Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)     November 8, 1935
Running time     132 min.
Country     USA
Language     English
Mutiny on the Bounty, won an Oscar for Best Picture and also received seven additional Academy Award nominations:

* Best Actor in a Leading Role -
o Clark Gable
o Charles Laughton
o Franchot Tone
* Best Director – Frank Lloyd
* Best Film Editing – Margaret Booth
* Best Music, Score – Nat W. Finston (head of department) and Herbert Stothart (“Love Song of Tahiti” written by Walter Jurmann, uncredited)
* Best Writing, Screenplay – Jules Furthman, Talbot Jennings and Carey Wilson
Historical inaccuracies:
Captain Bligh was never on board HMS Pandora, nor was he present at the trial of the mutineers who stayed on Tahiti. At the time he was halfway around the world on a second voyage for breadfruit plants. Fletcher Christian’s father had died many years before Christian’s travels on board the Bounty – the movie shows the elder Christian at the trial. It should be noted though, that the movie was always presented as an adaptation of the Nordhoff and Hall trilogy, which already differed from the actual story of the mutiny.
In the final scene of the film Gable gives a rousing speech to his fellow mutineers speaking of creating a perfect society of free men on Pitcairn away from Bligh and the Navy. The reality was very different. Free from the restraints of Naval discipline the mutineers proved incapable of self government. Pitcairn degenerated into a true hell on earth of drunkenness, rape and ultimately murder. ( The same holds true even this day!?) Apart from John Adams all the mutineers perished, most of them by violence.
Memorable quotes:
Captain William Bligh: During the recent heavy weather, I’ve had the opportunity to watch all of you at work on deck and aloft. You don’t know wood from canvas! And it seems you don’t want to learn! Well, I’ll have to give you a lesson.
Captain William Bligh: What’s your name?
Seaman Thomas Ellison: Thomas Ellison, sir. Pressed into service. I’ve got a wife, a baby!
Captain William Bligh: I asked your name, not the history of your misfortunes.

(ack:allmovie, wikipedia)
Trivia: James Cagney, David Niven, and Dick Haymes were uncredited extras in the movie.
Clark Gable had to shave off his famous moustache because the sailors in the Royal Navy in the eighteenth century had to be clean-shaven. Gable was reluctant to shave it off, though.


Read Full Post »

The Philadelphia Story is a romantic comedy film based on a Broadway play of the same name by Philip Barry, the film is about a rich socialite whose wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband and a handsome journalist. It is considered one of the best examples of romantic comedy, a genre popular in the 1930s and 1940s. At a time when depicting extramarital affairs was banned in American film a screwball comedy dealing with remarriage in which a couple divorce, flirt with outsiders and then remarry was a useful ploy at a time. The film was a great success.
The Philadelphia heiress Tracy Samantha Lord Haven (Hepburn) throws out her playboy husband C.K. Dexter Haven( Cary Grant) shortly after their marriage. Two years later, Tracy is about to marry respectable nouveau riche George Kittredge(John Howard) whilst Dexter has been working for “Spy” magazine.
Wedding preparations are complicated when she is blackmailed by publisher Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell) over some incriminating photos exposing the antics of Tracy’s philandering father, Seth (John Halliday). “Spy” must have exclusive rights to the event. Enter the tabloid reporter Macaulay “Mike” Connor (James Stewart) and photographer Elizabeth “Liz” Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) sent by the magazine. Dexter has help in the reporter: Mike Connor frowns on the rich and also drops lines to show his distrust of them.
(” Macaulay Connor: The prettiest sight in this fine pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges”.
) The other one is photographer Liz Imbrie, who has a yen for champagne.
“Elizabeth (Liz) Imbrie: What’s this room? I’ve forgotten my compass.
Macaulay Connor: I’d say, south-by-southwest parlor-by-living-room”.
With such spoilers who are out to peel that rich snooty veneer off her, Tracy is forced to choose among her past love, her present love, and her new love.

The night before the wedding, Tracy gets drunk for only the second time in her life and takes an impromptu, innocent swim with Mike. When George sees Mike carrying an intoxicated Tracy into the house afterwards (both of them wearing only bathrobes), he thinks the worst, that his bride-to-be has disgraced herself. The next day, he tells her that he was shocked and feels entitled to an explanation before going ahead with the wedding. Tracy takes exception to his lack of faith in her and breaks off the engagement. Then she realizes that all the guests have arrived and are waiting for the ceremony to begin. Mike volunteers to marry her (much to Elizabeth’s distress), but Tracy graciously declines. At this point, Dexter makes his successful bid for her hand.
Of course the dialogue is supposedly scintillating, a sample of which is given below.

The play was Hepburn’s first great triumph after several movie flops (including the classic Bringing Up Baby), which had led to her being labeled “box office poison”. Howard Hughes bought the rights to the film as a gift to Hepburn. When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decided to make a movie out of it, she stipulated in her contract that the film could not be made unless she was allowed to reprise her stage role. Hepburn initially wanted Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy for the male leads but they were not available. The film earned a Best Actor Academy Award for Stewart in an unusually forceful performance, as the fast-talking reporter smitten with Hepburn.

It was remade in 1956 as a musical titled High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra
Director: George Cukor
Writer: Donald Ogden Stewart
Cary Grant as C. K. Dexter Haven
* Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord
* James Stewart as Macaulay Connor
* Ruth Hussey as Elizabeth Imbrie
* John Howard as George Kittredge
* Roland Young as Uncle Willie
* John Halliday as Seth Lord
* Mary Nash as Margaret Lord
* Virginia Weidler as Dinah Lord
* Henry Daniell as Sidney Kidd

Producer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Cinematographer: Joseph Ruttenberg (director of photography)
Composer: Franz Waxman
Distributed by MGM
(Ack: http://www.imdb.com, wikipedia}

Memorable quotes
Margaret Lord: The course of true love...
Macaulay Connor: …gathers no moss.
George Kittredge: [walks in on Tracy and Dexter together] Well, I suppose I should object to this twosome.
C. K. Dexter Haven: That would be most objectionable.
Tracy Lord: [Tracy and Mike have almost kissed. Both are very drunk] Has your mind taken hold again, dear professor?
Macaulay Connor: Good thing, don’t you agree?
Tracy Lord: No, professor.
Macaulay Connor: [angrily] Alright, lay off that “professor” stuff! Now, do you hear me?
Tracy Lord: Yes, professor
Macaulay Connor: Doggone it, C.K. Dexter Haven. Either I’m gonna sock you or you’re gonna sock me.
C. K. Dexter Haven: Shall we toss a coin?
[Dexter has just proposed]
Tracy Lord: Oh Dexter you’re not doing it just to soften the blow?
C. K. Dexter Haven: No.
Tracy Lord: Nor to save my face?
C. K. Dexter Haven: Oh, it’s a nice little face.


In the original Broadway play Joseph Cotton played the Cary Grant role while Van Heflin did the James Stewart role.
Stewart had been extremely nervous to do the scene in which Conner recites poetry to Tracy and believed that he would perform badly. Coincidentally, Noel Coward was visiting the set that day and was advised by director George Cukor to say something that would encourage Stewart. Coward said, offhandedly, “Did I mention I think you’re a fantastic actor?” Stewart performed the scene unforgettably well. (Courtesy IMDB)
The film was shot in eight weeks with no requirement for retakes. On one instance, James Stewart slipped in his hiccuping during the drunk scene. Grant turned to him, surprised, and said “Excuse me.” The scene only had to be shot once. (Courtesy TCM).
The character of Tracy Lord was inspired by Helen Hope Montgomery Scott (1904-1995), a Philadelphia socialite, known for her hijinks, who married a friend of playwright Philip Barry

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,874 other followers