Try an experiment some time. Bring up the drunk scene from The Philadelphia Story (1940) to a group of classic movie fans (like the folks at #TCMParty on Twitter, for instance) and I can almost guarantee you they'll start trading lines:
"Oh, C. K. Dexter-HAAAVENN!"
And "Champagne is a great leveleleler."
And "C. K. Dexter-Haven, you have unsuspected depth!"
And . . . but I don't want to spoil the whole scene for you. Suffice it to say, this is a well-known, well-loved scene. I would even say it's one of the best comic scenes ever put on film, performed by two great actors at the top of their game and helmed by a director, George Cukor, who excelled at bringing out the best in a cast. And who also, fortunately, encouraged ad libbing.
( Which we'll get to in a moment . . . )
After much musing and fretting, I finally went with Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Claude Rains, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Joseph Cotten, Judy Garland, Ingrid Bergman, and Katharine Hepburn.
. . . But I had six or seven runners-up!
However . . . I just now figured out how to make this my lockscreen picture.
. . . So maybe they're not so bad after all!
I've been trying to work on some mini-movie reviews, but it's taking forever. In the meantime, have a little meme I just made up! (One or two of you may have seen me playing around with this idea on Twitter).
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Put together a film festival for your favorite actor, actress, or director. Classic or contemporary, whatever you prefer. This film festival should be between 10 and 20 hours long, not counting snack and bathroom breaks! Films can be in any order you choose, chronological or otherwise. Tell us a little something about each film.
I picked Jimmy Stewart for mine.
So let me give you the lists, and I'll explain a little about my reasoning after that. Going from last to first in each list . . .
( Below the cut )
Now excuse while I go curl up in the fetal position and sob quietly for a while.
If you're a classic movie buff, the Warner Archive Collection is pretty much the greatest site in the history of time. They're putting out all sorts of rare movie and TV classics on DVD. (That is, on DVD-R, which, I'm told, will only play in a DVD player. I don't know why they went that route. Cheaper, maybe?) As stillsparkling pointed out the other day, they've got Jimmy Stewart's detective series Hawkins, which I don't think I ever got to see before.
AND they've got something I've been pining for, literally for decades: The Cross of Lorraine, one of Gene Kelly's few non-musical films.
( Gotta love those Irish Frenchmen )
I've always thought that if I had to pick the best film ever made -- the best, objectively speaking, not my favorite -- I would probably go with Casablanca. However, there's the indisputable fact that Vertigo is a Jimmy Stewart film . . . and a darned good one at that. So, I can definitely live with this pick. The fact that it's a Hitchcock film as well is just gravy.
One more thing: I hope it doesn't make me a total philistine that I've always found Sunrise and 2001 -- voted #5 and #6, respectively -- way overrated. I don't care how pretty it is to look at -- aside from the parts with the homicidal computer, 2001 is about as thrilling as watching whiteout dry.
"No, idiot, you are NOT buying the Scarlet Pimpernel tulips just because they're named after the Scarlet Pimpernel. You don't even like the things. They're weird-looking."
"Okay, as long as I can buy the Fidelio tulips."
"They're just yellow and red tulips. You can buy yellow and red tulips anywhere that are cheaper than that."
"Yeah, but are they named after Beethoven's only opera?"
"All right. Fine. You can buy the Fidelio tulips. As long as you don't buy the Jimmy tulips just because they're called Jimmy. They're orangey-red, and you wanted plain red. And no, they're not named after Jimmy Stewart."
"Are you sure?"
"SHUT UP AND BUY THE PLAIN RED TULIPS ALREADY."
And that was even before I found the Pickwick crocuses.
ETA: Oh, I didn't realize the post was locked! Sorry.
I don't think they'll mind if I share a couple of quotes from it:
"I've always hurt inside when I've met somebody truly lonely. Even with my dogs. ... That's why I always have two of them about the same age--so they can keep each other company. I have been told by people who know a helluva lot more about dogs than I do that they're not capable of loneliness. But I just don't believe it. I think every living creature is capable of feeling left out and I almost took it as a duty for one creature to watch out for another."
-- Jimmy Stewart
"I think it would be true to say that Jim actually has gone out of his way many times to be particularly attentive to me. The more beautiful and glamorous his leading lady was, the more attention he paid to me. I asked him once why he did that, and he said, 'Because I want you to never feel anything less than the most special thing in my life'."
-- Gloria Stewart (they were married for 44 years)
But today Grant and Stewart are in different movies, each with Rains as supporting actor. Which is a nice arrangement, because when you're not swooning over either Cary or Jimmy, you can be swooning over Claude. (Ohhh, Claude . . . )
( #4 & #3 )