Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Film Review: Cactus Flower (1969)

Such a fun film!
Photo Courtesy of
TCM: A philandering dentist asks his assistant to help him deal with his latest girlfriend.

     So, I've wanted to see this film for a really long time. It's been on my wish list for just as long, but for some unknown reason every time I see it at Barnes and Noble or check on it at Amazon randomly, I never end up buying it.
     Shame. On. Me.
     I went to the good ole' library this past Saturday with the intent of returning books and scanning some paper for a college that won't leave me alone and I really have no intention to going to because it's a couple of hours away from home, and while some seniors are biting at the quick to get the hell out of dodge after they graduate high school, I'm not one of them. I like where I live and I plan on staying here for a really long time. In any case, however, despite the fact that I basically wasted my time scanning files and talking on the phone, I did have enough time to kind of scan through the aisles to find a couple of books and a couple of DVDs.
     Guess what one caught my eye?
This is the look that I had on my face, too, when mulling
over the cast.
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     Go on. Guess. Did you guess Cactus Flower? Yay! You get a cookie.
     Okay, all joking aside . . . eh, maybe, I decided that it was high time to watch Cactus Flower. I mean, hello, we've got Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Goldie Hawn all in one film. Together. The cast alone makes it a required film to watch at least once in your lifetime.
     So, I didn't really know what I was getting into before I watched this film, because as much as the cast alone makes it a required film to watch, it's also, in my opinion, one to really make you puzzle over. Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau with Goldie Hawn in her first film? Walter and Goldie as a couple in this film? Ingrid as a dentist's assistant in love with the dentist?
     It shouldn't work . . . but it does!
Ingrid and Walter.
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     Cactus Flower is a very quite comedy to me, in that the humor, while funny, isn't over the top or very blatant. To me, it's very subtle and smart and witty. Sure, there's sex in it (or rather the overt idea of sex), that would surely make some back in the day blush (or rather the parents of the teenagers that watched the film blush). Yeah, and I know that by the time the sixties hit the film industry, the Code was long gone, but as I watched Cactus Flower I couldn't help but think, "What code?" because believe me--they're not hiding anything in this film.
Still as gorgeous as ever.
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     My favorite person in the film was the always lovely Ingrid Bergman. Ingrid aged with so much grace and I found her even more beautiful in this film then in, say, Casablanca more than twenty years earlier. She is as charming as the day is long and funny as hell as the "drill sergeant" dentist assistant who's in love with Walter Mattahu's character, Julian Winston. And, hey, she makes "The Dentist" (a dance move) look good . . . Offhand, I can't think of too many comedies that Ingrid did, I know there's a couple thrown in there, but sadly they weren't a regular thing for her,  and they should've been because she sure has a great flair for them and most of the parts that I was laughing at was because of the things that Ingrid did or said.
Silly Walter.
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     Now, Walter Matthau has always been a favorite of mine. I remember watching Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men when I was a kid, and I always felt like I was going to pull something because I laughed so hard at Walter's and Jack Lemmon's antics. He's no different in Cactus Flower. For me, Walter Matthau was one of the all time greatest zingers; he gave as good as he got--most of the time even better. He has some great one liners that had me laughing so hard I could hardly breathe.
     Okay, here's one thing I want to throw out there for anyone and everyone that has seen this film before: Is it just me, or does sometimes, by the way he makes a face or turns his head, Walter remind any of you of Gregory Peck? I'm not saying that they look anything alike--because they most certainly do not--but as I just listed, when Walter did something in a certain way, he just reminded me of Gregory Peck . . . I have no idea why, but he did. I maybe off base here, but I just got to know one way or the other . . .
Look at them eyes!
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     And, last but certainly not least, we have sweet little, blue eye Goldie Hawn in her first film. I've always liked Goldie Hawn, and I think she's really fun, but Cactus Flower takes the cake. She was just fantastic! And for me, after watching this film, I knew that there could never have been a doubt back then that one day Goldie Hawn would become Goldie Hawn . . . and sure enough, she did just that!
Quick Fact: The girl who plays Juliet in the film that is
shown is none other than Olivia Hussey, also known as
Dean Martin Jr's first wife, meaning Dean's daughter-in-law.
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     The supporting characters along the likes of Jack Weston (that guy that owns the hotel in Dirty Dancing), Rick Lenz, Vito Scotti, and Irene Hervey round out this wonderful cast to make a wonderful film that I would highly recommend anyone to watch if they are in the mood for something light and sure to make you laugh. It's definitely being bought by me in the very near future so I can add this wonderful and, in my opinion, underrated gem to my collection . . . which I also suggest for you to do if you have not already.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cary on Jeopardy?

"I'll take Cary Grant films for $2,000, Alex."
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     This day, for me, has made history. Why? you ask. One, I just got my first car--a red 2006 PT Cruiser, and it is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. And tomorrow, once the dealership takes care of one more thing, it will be MINE! BWAHAHAHAHAHA . . . clears throat . . . Sorry. I'm okay. I'm okay.
     I think . . .
     And the second reason is because Jeopardy, my favorite game show, just had a whole category on Cary Grant entitled Cary Grant's Films . . . I kid you not. And as Alex read off the clues, I stood excitedly and read and answered the question before Alex could even finish reading it off himself.
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     Granted, (pun not intended . . . not really, anyways), the answers were really easy and I'm sure any classic film fan could have answered them correctly even if they are not a fan of Cary's, but as you all know, I am! And, so, I'm sure you see why I'm so excited over the fact that Cary had his own category . . . I mean, I am writing a post on this.
      So, yes, if you hadn't yet confirmed, I am obsessed with Cary Grant and anything that even mentions him, or alludes to him, or is all about him, I'm all over it like white on rice . . . yes, I so just went there.
     I think I'm still a little hyped up on the fact that Jeopardy just made me the happiest person ever. And now the only way Jeopardy can ever get better is to give Dean his own category . . . they've had him as clues before, but they have yet to give him his own category (as far as I know). It will happen though. One day, it will happen.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Cary! Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is a very important day for two reasons. One, and the most obvious to all, is that today is Cary Grant's birthday. If he were alive he would be 109. Oh, yeah, and considering how amazing he looked when he was in his eighties, I guarantee you he would still be looking amazing if he were still alive (and with all the centenarians that are alive today is not a stretch to say that he could be alive today).

Here he is at 65.
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     I'm not going to write a really emotionally piece today as I usually do whenever Cary is mentioned. One, I think you all might be getting slightly tired of them all, and two because I just don't really feel up to it. Another time, and another day, maybe, but not today. And besides, today is a day to remember Cary and to do so fondly, to sit on the couch and watch your favorite movies of his back-to-back; to laugh with him, to laugh at him, and to just watch a man who enjoyed his craft enjoying himself on the silver screen. 
     That's what I'll be doing anyways.

Cary Grant
Look at him being all dapper.
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     The second reason why today is a very important day (and quiet honestly the most important) is that today in 1956, my father was born. Yep! Today is my dad's birthday, and I've got to tell you, I'm supremely jealous of him. Granted, I share my birthday with Hedy Lamar, but I do not have an infatuation with her as I do Cary. I mean, hello, Cary's the reason why I'm so obsessed with classic films like I am. He's the beginning, middle, and end for me when it comes to films. And my dad's lucky enough to have been on the same day as Cary fifty-two years later. 
     And what does he have to say to me about this? 
     I quote: "Hahahahahaha!"
     My dad is such a child. And I love him.
     So, Happy Birthday, Cary; Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you both so much!

Monday, December 24, 2012

No, Seriously, I'm Here Now

     Okay, so remember back on December 4 when I said I was back? Yeah, well, that didn't go as planned because obviously it has been twenty days (Happy . . . Merry? . . . Christmas Eve by the way, guys) since I gave an update on here. I've never done the whole New Year's Resolution thingy bajig, but I think I'll be doing one this year.

Be Organized!

     Geesh, never in my life have I ever had this much trouble be organized and on time. It's driving me nuts! I have to be organized or I do not function well (as evidence by my lack of posting on here, having time to watch my wonderful classic films, and in general, live in my own world). School and work has taken me by storm and I had the brilliant idea of getting sick . . . again. However, I should be in the clear now. I'm done with math. Kaput. Finito. I no longer have to endure Economics. Shabam! I can, at last, relax. The first semester is over . . . and oh, Dear God since the world didn't end this past Friday (I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this), I only have . . . gasp . . . five more months of seniorhood and I am . . . bigger gasp . . . graduating. Done with high school. Given a firm boot to the rear end and thrust into the real world. Oh. God. Can I pretty, pretty please go back in time and start over again? I don't want to pass Go. I don't want to collect.


     Fine. Don't let me. Make me have to face that cruel and unforgiving thing called life. I love you, too.

Anyways . . .

     So, lets see, what did I promise in my last post? Ah, yes, I remember, my Wish List. Well, people, since we live in the technology generation and since my parents were most definitely not born in the technology generation and since Barnes and Noble decided not to have the classic films which I desperately wanted, I know exactly what I'm getting for Christmas since I had to order them from Amazon. Does that deter me in the slightest? Does that make me any less excited than I would have been if I had given my mother a list and sent her off to Barnes and Noble by herself and hope that she find them? No. It does not. Believe me. I'm still itching to get my hands on them.
     And here, ladies and gentlemen, are my little goodies that I have to wait twenty-four more hours to get my hands on:

    Dean. Need I say more? I didn't think so.
    Photo Courtesy of http;//

    Three Sailors & A Girl
    I needed more Gordon in my life. You
    can never have too much of him.
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    Tea And Sympathy [Remaster]
    At last! It's mine! BWAHAHAHAHA!
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    To put my love for this film into words is
    nearly impossible. When I saw this was at last
    on DVD, I got a little misty eyed.
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    Battle Circus
    Bogie and June Allyson. Bogie and June Allyson!
    Together. In a picture. Together.
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    The Glenn Miller Story
    Broke down and finally got this at
    Barnes and Noble.
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    I got the King at Walmart.
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    San Francisco
    This was on my to-own list, but I wasn't necessarily
    looking to buy it and own it just now, but Clark here is
    under the Christmas tree, waiting for me.
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    TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Doris Day (Calamity Jane / Please Don't Eat the Daisies / Love Me or Leave Me / Romance on the High Seas)
    For some unknown reason, because I always remember
    what film I do and do not have, I forgot that I
    already had Calamity Jane. 3/4 though ain't bad.
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     My mom also bought me a Western set with John Wayne pictures and a Richard Widmark picture, but I can't find a photo of it, and I don't remember what the exact title of the product is, but I know that I got me some westerns to look forward to.

My Cyber Monday Buy

     I also said that I would share my Cyber Monday buy that was just too perfect I couldn't resist and one that nearly brought me to tears:

The Complete Thin Man Collection (The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man / Alias Nick and Nora)
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     There it is. In all it's glory, The Complete Thin Man Collection. $17.99. I snatched this baby up so fast it was unreal. I wasn't about to risk me missing this buy especially since it had been sitting on $59.92 for a very long time. If you do the math, or better yet, let Amazon do the math for you that's a 70% discount. I surely thought it would go back up after Cyber Monday was over, but I just checked and it's still the same $17.99 so if you want this, need this like I did, I'd go ahead and buy it if I were you. Make it your late Christmas present to yourself. You honestly can't get much better than this.
     Well, there we are. Before the year is up, I'll have a Tin Pan Alley up. And I promise, no more super long hiatuses from me; I don't like them. Also, in January, I'll be starting the Star of the Month again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm Back, I'm Back!

     Oh, wow, so I had no idea that I had taken over a month hiatus! GAH! I feel awful. I originally had just planned to take a small break because my life (i.e. school and work) is a little bit (I lie. I mean a lot) hectic right now, and I just need some breathing space. I'm good now, though. I've gotten things under wrap it seems for the most part, and I'm lock and loaded and ready to go.
     Because it's nearing Christmas, I'll be posting my Classic Christmas Wish List tomorrow, if not in a couple of days. I don't know about you guys, but I've got a lot of classic films that I want, but I know that I can't own all the DVDs in the world so I'll just have to narrow it down to, oh, I don't know, half of all the DVDs in the world? Yeah, that should be good . . .
     Also, to keep with the whole idea of me making Tin Pan Alley a regular monthly post, I'll also be doing that, I've got a post idea about an AWESOME buy that I got due to Cyber Monday (no joke, it's awesome. It's so awesome it nearly brought me to tears).
     And for all this month, I'll Be Dreaming of a White Christmas with Bing, staying inside, keeping warm (especially as it gets nearer to Christmas) because Baby, It's Cold Outside with my one and only Dean (we'll also be walking in a Marshmallow World), and also be happy because as Andy said, It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! (Yes, I know. That was so corny, but I was in the mood for a little corn on the cob).
     See you all soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tin Pan Alley: The Beatles

     Yeah, so remember when I said I was going to make this a monthly thing? Yeah, well, it's been four months since I did my first one on Dean, and so obviously I am a failure on a gargantuan level. I've been meaning to do one of these bad boys forever now, but somehow I always forget to actually do it so while it's on my mind, I'm going to finally do my second Tin Pan Alley (and hopefully it will actually become a monthly series on here).

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     Well, as I told you, just because the series title is Tin Pan Alley that doesn't mean I'm just sticking to that period of time in the music world. I love music from the 20s-60s plus some Paul McCartney after The Beatles, but for this post we're just going to look at my top ten favorite song of The Beatles.

The Beatles
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1. I Saw Here Standing There . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Please Please Me)
  • This is the song that got me interested in The Beatles. I was so resistant about liking them because I felt as though I were betraying Dean and Frank and all the rest of my people if I did that. I couldn't help it though. This is song is just so . . . fun! It always gets my foot tapping.

2. Honey Pie . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: The White Album)
  • This song has everything that I like: old Hollywood and Paul's vocals. I really love this song.

3. Cry Baby Cry . . . (John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Record/CD: The White Album)
  • Thanks to my teacher for A.P. Lit, I cannot help but to analyze almost everything now: my books, films, and songs in search of the hidden messages because as my teacher assures me . . . they're there. And when I analyzed Cry Baby Cry . . . well, it made me want to cry. John did a superb job, and then Paul's add on at the end which is apparently supposed to be a part of another song, which would make some think that it wouldn't mesh together, but because it's The Beatles it works.

4.  Yesterday . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Help!)
  • Talk about heartbreak. The lyrics just kill me. And Paul is a genius for though the song was credited as Lennon-McCartney, Paul wrote this all by his lonesome; and that's exactly what the song gives off the feeling of: loneliness.

5. The Long and Winding Road . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: The Blue Album)
  • Paul. Just stop. You're killing me.

6. Help Me! . . . (John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Record/CD: Help!)
  • Love this song, though I can't really say who's version I like of this better: The Beatles or Jerry Lewis and his son, Gary.

7. Lady Madonna . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: The Blue Album)
  • Very jazzy. Me like.

8. Eleanor Rigby . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Revolver)
  • "All the lonely people, where do they all come from/All the lonely people, where do they all belong?"

9. Drive My Car . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Rubber Soul)
  • I wish I had someone to drive my car . . . though I have no intentions of becoming a star. Fun to sing a long to and it just makes me want to move. "Beep Beep, Beep Beep, yeah!"

10. Come Together . . . (John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Record/CD: Abbey Road)
  • Damn good song.

     There we are then: the second edition of Tin Pan Alley. I don't really see how someone can't like The Beatles. They were so eclectic and talented that you have to like at least one of their songs. Now, I don't like all of their songs because there's just some that make me scratch my head and go "Huh?" but even so, there will never be another The Beatles. Oh, and I would like to point out just in case you didn't notice, Paul is my favorite.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dear Cary,

A very young and handsome you.
Photo Courtesy of
     I have a million of things that I long to tell you, but for fear of sounding too obsessed, I'm going to keep it to a minimum. The first thing that I must tell you is "thank you". I must tell you thank you before anything else because you saved me. You saved me when I desperately needed to be saved. My parents have been divorced all my life, and have living with my mother, I had decided that I was going to live with my father for the last four years of my public school career. Though my mother tried to explain to me that it was going to be too different down there, and I wouldn't like anything, I was (am) stubborn, and I didn't listen to her. Well, she was right. I hated it down at my father's. I couldn't stand the school, I missed my friends, I missed my mother, and most of all I missed the life that I had lived for fourteen years. I just wanted it all back.
     And that's when you came in, Cary.
     I decided that I was going to move back to my mother's after I finished ninth grade down at my father's, but that was such a long way to go. I felt as though I were drowning and I knew that I needed a life saver to rescue me. That life saver came in the form of TCM: Turner Classic Movies. I immediately fell in love with the black and white, color, 1930s through the 1960 movies. They were different. They were like nothing I had ever seen before. Oh, sure, I had seen Gone with the Wind, and I had seen a ton of John Wayne pictures, but never before had I ever seen anything like TCM was showing.
My second favorite picture.
Photo Courtesy of
     And I had never seen anything like you grace the screen in all my days.
     Cary, you were so so so handsome. Illegally handsome. No man should ever look as good as you did. Yet there you were in all your glory, flashing that white smile, showing off that cleft chin, and your eyes sparking with mischief. You made me laugh. I love to laugh, and for a while there I wasn't doing any of that. But you made up for all that lost laughter. And that voice of  yours . . . it was magic to me, music. And you knew this. You knew the effect that you had on people but never, not once, did you let it go to your head. For all your fame, you never let it get the best of you. You tried to act and be as simple as possible. That was little Archibald Alexander Leach in you. The little boy that grew up from the age of nine thinking that first, his mother had abandoned him, and then second, had died. Your father, for the most part, was absentee. You ran away at fourteen to join Bob Pender's Stage Troupe, and when they went to America you went with them, and it was while you were here that you knew that you belonged here. There was no other place for you. America was the land where dreams came true, and you had such big dreams and every last one of them deserved to at least have a chance to come true.
     Success didn't just come to you, you had to work hard for it, but you were used to doing that. You had to work hard for every little thing that you had; and that's one thing that makes me so mad when people say that you were a tightwad or cheap. You weren't that way by choice. You grew up in England during the first World War and you had to learn to give up things, have substitutes, or sometimes nothing at all; but even then you weren't a tightwad. A tightwad, no matter how much he loved his home country, would not give his whole salary, which amounted up to $100,000 from a film, in your case The Philadelphia Story, to the British War Relief Fund. Oh, yes, Cary, you were a terrible tightwad.
My favorite picture of you, though I don't know exactly why.
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     You weren't by no means perfect, Cary. You had your own demons just like we all do. You did things that I'm sure you wished you hadn't when you got older and you looked back on it, and then in the same breath, I'm sure you said that there were things that you wished you had done but hadn't, and that in any case, you did what you did and there was no going back. As much as I love you, Cary, I try very hard not to idolize you because I know that you didn't like that. I try hard to think of you as the man Cary Grant before I think of you as the movie star Cary Grant. As a man, as a human being, you were allowed to make mistakes. And so, for the most part, I succeed.
     I would also like to say that it makes me so happy to know that before you passed on, that you had at last found happiness with your daughter, Jennifer, and your last wife, Barbara. You deserved that happiness Cary, after all that had happened to you. You deserved it, and if there was only one thing that I could have ever wished for you was that you had got to enjoy it a little more than you had.
You and Jennifer.
Photo Courtesy of
     So, now to get to the end, I just wanted you to know how much I love, admire, and respect you. Though you have been gone now for twenty-six years you will never fully be gone from this world because of this glorious thing called celluloid. You will forever grace the silver screen, and as the years go by, I promise that when people see your pictures they will love you. I know because I did, I do, and I always will.

This letter was written in conjunction with the blogathon A Letter to the Stars. This is the first of my three letters to my three favorite stars. The following two will be up tomorrow and Tuesday.