Bedazzled (1967)

Bedazzled. 20th Century Fox 1967.

Before watching the movie:

Yes, there was a remake in 2000, which I haven’t seen either, but I was aware of at the time (I was only 12, there was no way I’d have gotten permission even if I wanted to see it).

I’m surprised by the critics’ comments about the intelligence of the movie. There’s a similar poster out there that has the quote shown here as well as another one calling it “an intellectual’s Hellzapoppin“. Considering it’s impossible to find a poster that doesn’t sell the movie on Raquel Welch’s body, I never thought “smart” would be a word to describe it.

What really sold me on it was the lead duo of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. I’m guessing the intelligence of the comedy comes from the ways the wishes get twisted.

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Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb. Arcola Pictures 1965.

Before watching the movie:

This is being promoted as a romp with a wife who invents a lover to get revenge on her husband for spending more time with his secretary. Apparently it also involves travel to Europe, but I’m not clear how big a part of the movie that is. I suspect the story starts with them relocating for business reasons, and then the new secretary at the new office gets too much of the husband’s attention.

This is based on a play, so I’m expecting some really good dialogue, very long scenes, and a handful of location scenes in Europe because movies feel obligated to Open Up a play.

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate. United Artists 1962.

Before watching the movie:

I think I’ve heard once or twice that Frank Sinatra stars in this, but I forgot it. It’s still strange to think about him as a legendary actor as well as a legendary singer.

There was a remake in 2004, which was probably the wrong time for a remake. I wonder if anyone with say-so is considering making it again. Some would argue it’s being remade right in front of us.

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Judgment at Nuremberg

Judgment at Nuremberg. Metro Goldwyn-Meyer 1961.

Before watching the movie:

I don’t really get why trying Nazi war crimes can fill a whole three hour courtroom drama, but the reason I don’t is probably why it needs that much time.

This film is indirectly responsible for my initial awareness of Spencer Tracy. In order to talk William Shatner into allowing himself to age publicly, Tracy was used as an example, and turned out to have been one of Shatner’s personal icons, having worked with him on this very movie. As much as I like Star Trek, I find Tracy’s performances very likeable for an entirely different reason from why Shatner is fun. Continue reading

Move Over, Darling

Move Over, Darling. Melcher-Arcola Pictures 1963.
Move Over, Darling. Melcher-Arcola Pictures 1963.

Before watching the movie:

I’ve been holding onto this for a long time because it looked fun, but I wasn’t sure if it was actually a theatrical movie, and also it’s a remake of My Favorite Wife, so I really wanted to do it, but I wasn’t sure it would be a good fit. But I have established that it was a feature, so I’m going to cover it now.

This is built on a thorny relationship question, which I think might shift slightly from the 40s to the 60s to today. Nobody’s wrong, but how do they make it right?

After watching the movie:

Five years after his wife Ellen went missing in a plane crash, Nick Arden has her declared legally dead so he can marry his new love, Bianca. The very same day, the Navy rescues Ellen from the tropical island she’d been marooned on, and she returns home to learn her husband is leaving for his honeymoon. Ellen’s mother in law Grace conspires with her to get her to interrupt Nick and Bianca’s honeymoon so Ellen can have her family back. However, while Nick is overjoyed to be reunited with Ellen, he dreads breaking the news to sensitive and moody Bianca. Now Ellen is furious that Nick won’t get rid of Bianca, and Bianca is furious with Nick for sneaking around instead of giving her a wedding night, and then, just so Nick won’t be left out, he learns Ellen wasn’t alone on that island.

It’s not entirely correct to say that nobody’s wrong. Nobody is at fault for the creation of the situation, but everyone takes a share of extenuating it. This is one of those stories that runs on people not talking to each other, but it’s also people who won’t be talked to. As reluctant to brooch the subject as he is, Nick does try to do so, just as gently as one would expect him to deliver a disappointment to his bride on the special day. Bianca just won’t let him reach his point. Ellen’s jealousy and impatience is also understandable, but she keeps interrupting the process. Watching people who not only won’t talk to each other but can’t talk to each other is often like drowning, but it’s very fun downing done well, and this is a delightful mix of a whole lot of different kinds of comedy on the way to nobody admitting anything to anybody.

I’m sure I’ve seen the hotel manager in a lot of 60s movies and possibly TV. He seems to play disapproving waiters and authorities a lot in the 60s. Don Knotts also has a guest role in a couple of scenes, mostly in the same vein as his usual type, but without any pressure to be a hero. The judge at the beginning and end is unfamiliar, but he steals the show.

It’s a thorny problem, but the real world solution wouldn’t have so clean a break with one woman. This falls into the trap of a lot of the movies where building up the case against the wrong partner leaves a character that doesn’t seem to have any business being with the one forced to choose. It could also have left it at neither, but then the happy ending would need even more help.

The ride of this movie makes up for a lot of logical problems. The writing and performing is funny, so what else does it need to be? As long as the journey is enjoyable, the map doesn’t need to make too much sense.

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Hello, Dolly!

Hello, Dolly! Chenault Productions 1969.
Hello, Dolly! Chenault Productions 1969.

Before watching the movie:

I’m sure there are other movies that reach this level of substanceless fame, and probably ones that I’ve reviewed here before, but while I know I’ve reviewed well-known movies nobody actually seems to discuss the content of before, I can’t think of one so big yet so mysterious.

I roughly know its time period, but mainly because Wall-E used some clips. Otherwise, it’s somehow the codifier of what a classic musical film is, to the point that it’s taken as a generic for “musical”. But it’s theoretically in that position because it’s good and because it’s influential. But the mold got overused and eventually musicals started defying it. Later on Broadway reinvented Disney reinvented Broadway, but that’s beyond the scope of a review of Hello, Dolly! Continue reading

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany's. Paramount Pictures 1961.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Paramount Pictures 1961.

Before watching the movie:

Apparently this is about a socialite falling in love with a writer. I don’t see from that description why this is one of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic films. I expect that must be coming from the writing and the performances, because the synopses I’m seeing aren’t particularly persuasive, and nobody ever talks about why this is such an enduring movie, they just namedrop it and others are expected to know. The least glowing reference I can think of is the couple in the song of the same name agreeing that they “both kind of liked it” as the first common ground they can think of to save their relationship. And there’s an entire, very catchy song about that. Continue reading