Friday, December 28, 2012

Jane Eyre (1943)

Hmmm.  I do remember that I did not love the book.  Or rather, I loved the first half and didn't particularly like the second half.  Not so sure how I felt about the movie.  A little hard to watch.  I think I was knitting, though, so at least I was getting something done.
I think my problem with Jane Eyre, or at least with this adaptation, is the usual problem of not understanding why the heroine is in love with the man.  Makes it hard to care what happens to them.  Orson Welles plays such a distant and sometimes cruel Rochester.  I was rooting for the movie to diverge from the book so that Jane could end up with the nice man she meets after her failed wedding attempt.  But it was not to be.  Maybe Rochester was just as hard to take in the book - I read it so long ago that I really can't remember - but having to see him and listen to him made it so much worse.

One star.  Probably won't see it again, but I would be willing to watch other adaptations.

Born to Be Bad (1934)

A must-see in the quest to see all attainable Cary Grant movies.  Not a must-see in a quest to enjoy classic movies.
Unwed mother raises son in bookshop owned by kind old man.  Now lives on own.  Raising son to take care of himself in a tough, tough world... to steal, lie, wreak havoc, perpetrate fraud.

Son is unharmed while rollerskating into Cary Grant's character's truck!  Cary Grant's character is rich?  Pretend son is terribly injured.  Lawsuit!

Plan backfires!  Mother declared unfit!  Son taken away!  Cary Grant and wife try to do right by "injured boy."  Have him stay at their lavish home.  Oops, boy's mother arrives to stay and attempts to take Cary Grant for herself.  Cary Grant is momentarily a slut.

Silly one star (zero star?) movie that I don't plan to see again.  In search of a good Cary Grant movie that I have not yet seen...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Let's Make Love (1960)

Let me first say that I watched this movie in three installments at the gym.  This led me to wonder really inconsequential things, like, why does Amanda (Marilyn Monroe) knit in the first section of the movie but not in the second section?
"What are you making?"
"I haven't decided yet.  It keeps my hands busy."
It turns out she does in fact knit in the third section... she knits sequined yarn in a musical fantasy dreamed by Jean-Marc Clement (Yves Montand).  Phew.  I was worried about continuity.
I also noticed that I was not in any rush to go back to the gym to find out what happened to the characters.

Let's Make Love is your standard "I must pretend to be someone I am not so that you will see the true me and love me.  And then you will quickly (VERY QUICKLY) forget how humiliated you felt by my lying and fall into my arms" movie.  Sometimes this works for me, sometimes it doesn't.  This time it didn't.  Maybe because I just couldn't get myself to care at all about the characters.

Poor Jean-Marc Clement.  He is a French billionaire, and someone is making an off-Broadway musical that uses ten seconds of its stage time to make a joke about him!  His PR man convinces him to visit a rehearsal to show that he can laugh at himself, thus making other people laughing at him seem a little more friendly.  And there on stage at the rehearsal, slithering down poles in a sweater and panty hose, is Amanda (Marilyn Monroe).  Jean-Marc is told he bears a striking resemblance to Jean-Marc Clement, Amanda makes disparaging remarks about the "real" Jean-Marc Clement, and Jean-Marc decides to assume a new name and get cast in the show as himself to get close to Amanda.

More songs, skimpier outfits, Jean-Marc making hoity toity remarks...  and so on.

Highlight for me:  When Jean-Marc needs to learn how to dance (so to better woo Amanda), Gene Kelly comes to his office and gives him a lesson.  Not a great scene, but got me to perk up and pay attention.  Cameos from Bing Crosby and Milton Berle as well.

Two stars, and I don't want to see this again.