Tuesday, May 10, 2016

100 Days of Old Movies: Instalment 2

Here's the next bunch of my 100 Days of Old Movies sketches for the 100 Day Project. You can find instalment one (Days 1 - 10) here.

11 & 12: Romance on the High Seas (1948)

It's Magic

This is my favourite Doris Day movie - and her first, before they'd settled on the ultra sweet and innocent persona - as Oscar Levant (who was also in Romance on the High Seas) said 'I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.' Of course, this is a movie musical we're talking about here, so it's not racy, but it has an extra tartness that many of her other Warner musicals lacked, I think.

The plot is simple: wealthy husband and wife each think the other is playing around. When the husband cancels their 3rd wedding anniversary cruise just after hiring a pretty new secretary, wife says she'll go by herself - and hires nightclub singer Day to take her place on the cruise of a lifetime so she can stay home and catch her husband cheating. Husband, however, thinks her going on the cruise alone is a bit sus, so he hires a private detective (Jack Carson) to keep an eye on her. Complications ensue, in a succession of elaborate costumes that range from nice to completely hideous. Eric Blore also makes an appearance, cementing this movie as a fabulous throwback to 30s musicals.

13 & 14: Spellbound (1945)

My dear girl, you can not keep bumping your head against reality and saying it is not there.

Spellbound is an Alfred Hitchcock movie, made under Brian Selznic, and certainly one of my favourite Hitchocks. It was made in the mid-40s when psychoanalysis was all the rage (The Dark Mirror from 1946 is another film around this theme. There were quite a few.) Ingrid Bergman is the psychiatrist who falls in love with Gregory Peck (and who can blame her?) and attempts to work out what has made him borderline insane and prove that he isn't a murderer. Plot-wise it's fairly straight, but there are a lot of interesting first-person filming effects, ominous music throughout and a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali (Apparently originally there were two, but one was cut. A pity. I understand that Dali designed a set with grand pianos hanging upside down over dancers in a ballroom, but to cut costs they used miniature pianos and tried to fix the resultant weird perspective by hiring little people as the dancers. And then they cut the whole scene, perhaps unsurprisingly)

15 & 16: It Happened One Night (1934)

The walls of Jericho are toppling.

Can you really go wrong with Frank Capra? When heiress Claudette Colbert is secretly married to a man she has met only once her father imprisons her on the family yacht. She jumps ship and sets off to travel back to her husband via bus, but she's never had to cope on her own and is soon in trouble. Recently-fired reporter Clark Gable takes her under his wing in return for a story. The hitch-hiking scene that I drew here is probably the most famous (It was temping to draw her in her wedding dress, but there wasn't enough room for the veil in this square format I'm using for this series...)

This is currently my least favourite sketch, the perspective didn't work too well when I tried to force it to fit with everything else....

17 & 18: The Court Jester (1955)

Get it? 

Got it. 

This is an excellent movie if you're feeling down. It's a joyful spoof on medieval romances and Robin Hood. Nothing is accurate, and we don't care. Carnival member Danny Kaye joined the Black Fox and his men hoping  to help fight to restore the true King to the throne, but he's stuck entertaining the troops. Through a series of happenings, he's smuggled into the castle disguised as the new Court Jester and is soon in it up to his neck. Lots of opportunities for Danny Kaye double-talk and lots of pretty dresses for Glynis Johns and Angela Lansbury.

19 & 20: The Forbidden Street / Britannia Mews (1949)

I'm always reminding people of someone else. I suppose I have no personality of my own. 

This is an odd little film, but nevertheless one that I enjoyed. I'm not quite sure what genre it is - it starts off solidly as a melodrama, swings past romance and ends with comedy.

Maureen O'Hara is fascinated by the squalid Mews she can see from her bedroom window. When she grows up she becomes infatuated with her drawing master (Dana Andrews), who lives in the Mews, and marries him. This is a mistake. He's a drunk who doesn't want to work - either at his artwork or giving lessons - and spends his time crafting puppets, which she dismisses as a waste of time. One day he falls down the stairs and dies. Maureen thinks she can go home to her family now, but an old women who lives opposite blackmails her, saying she will tell everyone she pushed him downstairs. So she's stuck in the mews, gradually losing hope, until a stranger pops up - looking exactly like her dead husband.

I couldn't find a trailer for this. But searching for Britannia Mews on youtube currently brings up the English dub.

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