Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bogie and His Slim

"Slim darling, you came along and into my arms and into my heart and all the real true love I have is yours-and now I'm afraid you won't understand and that you'll become impatient and that I'll lose you- but even if that happened, I wouldn't stop loving you for you are my last love and all the rest of my life I shall love you and watch you and be ready to help you should you ever need help.

All the nice things I do each day would be so much sweeter and so much gayer if you were with me. I find myself saying a hundred times a day, 'If Slim could only see that' or 'I wish Slim could hear this.' I want to make a new life with you- I want all the friends I've lost to meet you and know you and love you as I do- and live again with you, for the past years have been terribly tough, damn near drove me crazy. You'll soon be here, Baby, and when you come you'll bring everything that's important to me in this world with you."

~ Excerpt: Letter from Humphrey Bogart to Lauren Bacall

The Moon is Reaching for Me...

Let me first begin, than in my defense, I had two posts on here that were accidentally deleted (because my computer savvy is occasionally hampered by my 5 thumbs!) ...with that being said, here's to a Fall full of writing! (or at least random thoughts from my rather disorganized mind)

Recently, I've been going through some rather large life changes. In fact this last year has been spent jumping from one big decision to the next. Whenever things start to get overwhelming and oppressive, I find myself wrapped up in my black&white. I pull out my comfort movies and curl up in a blanket with my grouchy cat for a few hours of relief. I have a long list of 'go-to' films, but the one that never seems to stay in it's case for very long is Sabrina (1954).

This past summer, I sent a Sabrina DVD to my younger cousin for her birthday. As a young single girl in her early twenties, my cousin is trying to learn how to navigate what she always thought she wanted with the realities of life and her changing heart. I feel rather useless giving advice when I'm in my late twenties and in the exact same spot. Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina is the poster child for all of us lost girls, and watching her never fails to brighten my hopes. Sabrina is the story of a lovesick girl who thinks she knows exactly what she wants until the unexpected steps in and turns the tables. It was my first Audrey movie, it began my infinite adoration of all things Humphrey Bogart and it never fails to feed my fashion-ista alter ego!!

And thanks to I think I'll just let the pictures speak for me...

Who knew a yellow pencil could lead to such a romantic line

Give me a frozen daiquiri and I don't care what's on my head either

What about the woman who has never attempted a souffle... Am I over-thinking this??

That hat! I want that hat!

One of the many reasons I love moons and stars... I always think of this line

Preach it Sister...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Burton and Taylor Excerpt...

Married and divorced twice, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were in love with one another until the end of their days but could not make their marriage work. Burton once compared their love to an "exciting volcano".

In November 1968, Burton wrote: "I have been inordinately lucky all my life but the greatest luck of all has been Elizabeth. She has turned me into a model man but not a prig, she is a wildly exciting lover-mistress, she is shy and witty, she is nobody's fool. She is a brilliant actress, she is beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography, she can be arrogant and willful, she is clement and loving. She is Sunday's child, she can tolerate my impossibilities and my drunkenness, she is an ache in the stomach when I am away from her and she loves me. She is prospectus that can never be entirely catalogued, an almanac for poor Richard. And I shall love her forever."


"Yours is a capricious nature..."

How to Steal a Million (1966) is one of those movies that I watch all the time, at least once a month, if not once a week. I wouldn't say it's the best movie ever made, but it's one of my favorites all the same. It's one of those films that reminds me just how girly I can be. This is my film equivalent of a box of chocolates or a spoon in a carton of ice cream. It's my indulgence, and every bite is perfectly decadent.

This movie is generally categorized as a Heist picture. It's about a girl who hires a guy to help her steal a forged statue before it can be examined and exposed as a fake. The statue was made by her grandfather (her father is also a forger, but his specialty is painting) and she is desperately trying to save her family's reputation before it can be ruined. She believes the man she hired is an experienced society burglar when in reality he is only posing as one because he is attracted to her.

There is so much about this movie that I absolutely adore...The actors, the chemistry, the style and the humor,'s sheer bliss...

Audrey Hepburn is absolutely delightful as Nicole, the honest, determined heroine and Peter O'Toole is
dashing and charismatic as the reluctant thief. You can tell that they had fun making this picture because their on screen chemistry is so carefree and easy. My favorite scene is at the beginning of the film when Hepburn catches O'Toole with one of her father's forged paintings. She believes he is in the act of stealing it and accidentally shoots him with an old pistol. Their exchange is priceless:

Nicole Bonnet: Your arm is much better.
Simon Dermott: Oh no no, it hurts, it hurts.
Nicole Bonnet: It's the other arm.
Simon Dermott: The infection is spreading.

I recently read Peter O'Toole's first autobiography, Loitering with Intent: The Child, and I will admit, I have a huge crush on that lanky Brit. He was the perfect mix of poet, devil, proper English gentleman, and absolute scoundrel. They just don't make men like that anymore. His dry sense of humor permeates Million and his cavalier approach to wooing Hepburn is enough to make any girl go weak in the knees. I even love that he breaks into Hepburn's house wearing a tuxedo...not many men can make a suit and bow tie look that sophisticated and natural all at the same time!

"I will not be a common man, I will stir the smooth sands of montony. I do not crave security. I wish to hazard my soul to opportunity."- Peter O'Toole's notebook, age 18.
An Honorable mention goes to the late great Eli Wallach as the american playboy Leland Davis. Most people my age will only recognize this amazing talent as Kate Winslet's geriatric friend in The Holiday... but this man was a Hollywood Renaissance front runner! He usually played gritty bad guys and was a surprising choice for the overly self-assured American millionaire... but he is absolutely perfect!

I also have to take a moment to recognize the other star of this movie... The Fashion! White fish net stockings, an epic pair of white sunglasses and that lace black eye mask... I mean... come on! What girl can watch this movie and not drool a puddle... you have to hand it to Hepburn, the girl knew how to wear clothes (even in just a pink nightie and black rain boots... the lady had style!).

Ginvenchy... Ah! Be still my heart!!

The movie has a carefree feeling...a "romp"-esque theme. It's just pure fun. It's hard to explain because so much of the joy can only be found by watching the film. The dialogue is best appreciated when heard. You can't over think it, or look too hard to find gaping holes in the plot, that's like checking the calorie count before eating a Hershey's bar. It totally ruins the experience. Every girl has their 'go-to' "I've had a bad day and need a pick me up" movie... How to Steal a Million is mine!

Simon Dermott: [about the Cellini Venus] Oh! She's fine. She's wrapped up in one of my old shirts, just as snug as could be. I rocked her to sleep in my arms last night. It's the first time I ever did that with a grandmother. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Feisty Feathers

When it comes to Howard Hawk's amazing contribution to the Western genre, the first film that comes to mind is Rio Bravo (1959). It has a simple plot, typical Old Tuscon setting and a phenomenal cast of characters. It didn't revolutionize the rapidly tiring genre nor did it shake Hollywood to it's core with out of the box film making. Instead it played to Hawk's chief strength: His ability to tell one hell of a story.

Hawk's is one of those old Hollywood directors that knew no limits. He directed everyone from Joan Crawford to Marilyn Monroe, discovered and molded the talent of Lauren Bacall, felt as comfortable rolling on an old West shootout as well as capturing a song and dance number. The man had a talent for recycling his own material and spinning gold each time. Rio Bravo was no different.

I could write pages on Bravo's cinematography, wax on for hours about Dean Martin's perfect performance or Ricky Nelson's beautifully understated 'Colorado', and I could go on and on about my unswerving devotion to John Wayne and his pigeon toed gait. But for me, the real stand out, the real reason to put in Rio Bravo, comes in a very small, dainty stubborn package and her name is Feathers.

I don't think Hawks ever intended for Feathers to be such a stand out among this group of male heavy weights. I mean, he named her after an accessory that she wears only a couple of times, a brown feather boa. it isn't even memorable or showy. I think that was a direct relation to how Hawks regarded Angie Dickenson's character, as a flowery female accessory, for show and not necessarily for purpose. For Hawks, this movie was all about what it meant to be a man's man... I don't think he ever expected just how strong a woman can be when pitted against this much machismo.

Feathers leads the romantic subplot in Bravo. She comes to town on the stage coach and has to stay over night due to a busted wheel. Her timing couldn't have been worse. John Wayne's Sheriff is between a rock and a hard place keeping a notorious murderer locked in his jail until the U.S. Marshall can arrive. All he has for help is a nagging crippled deputy half off his rocker and a grumpy recovering alcoholic deputy with the shakes. In walks a young woman matching a handbill description of a wanted gambling cheat. What I like about Feathers is that they never come right out and say that she's a "fallen woman" instead she struts into the room  independent and defiant... not to mention chatty.

I love how sassy she is. From the get go, she never once comes across intimidated by the door frame dominating John Wayne. She keeps him on his toes with a never ending stream of talk. At the beginning of their relationship, Wayne follows her up into her room believing that she's cheated at the poker table down below. He asks her about missing cards from the playing deck and she replies that he's just going to have to search her for them. That he would have to remove her blouse and check beneath her skirt. Immediately Wayne is thrown for an embarrassing loop. He stutters and get's flustered. Seeing the Duke loose his footing is wonderful and watching such a small fierce little woman do it is incredibly entertaining.

Angie Dickinson is brilliant in this film. She plays Feathers like a piano hitting every high and every low of the character. She took a girl who could have come across as annoyingly flat and fleshed her out into a believable woman. I like how she builds her attitude from flirty to irritable to mad to enchanted all within in a few lines of dialogue. She's a natural and will not be ignored. I think Feathers became more and more integral to the flow of the story because of how Dickinson chose to play her. Through the course of the movie, you can tell that Hawks saw that spark as well. Occasionally the camera lingers on Feathers after the dialogue has finished allowing for those extra shades to cross her facial expressions. And during her arguments with Wayne, she get's far more screen time than he does. Even when he is responding to her, the camera never strays long and always finds her again.

Feathers doesn't borrow from the Western female stereotypes. She isn't a saloon girl decked out in corsets and flashy colors but neither is she the virtuous homestead woman. She's just a girl who came to town on the stage. She slowly falls for the Sheriff and stays despite his insistence that she leave. She's stubborn and feisty. All in all, she's mind kind of girl.

Feathers: I thought you were never going to say it.
John T. Chance: Say what?
Feathers: That you love me.
John T. Chance: I said I'd arrest you.
Feathers: It means the same thing, you know that.

Bravo is worth watching for a thousand different reasons (including a gratuitous but awesome Nelson/Martin duet), but for me, I watch it for the woman with the feathers...

As for the other reasons to watch Bravo... just look at that handsome Ricky Nelson... need I say more??