Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kiss Them for Me (1957)

Cary Grant stars in this story of a reluctant hero. So reluctant that he flees to San Francisco to find a girl rather than do his duty to the US Navy and regale the press with tails of heroism from the front lines. There are a lot of digs at Navy bureaucracy, reminiscent of Mother Goose, another great CG film.

Also, this is another film featuring Cary Grant the smooth-talking shyster (like Mr. Lucky). Almost as soon as he arrives on dry land he starts conning everyone in sight. His character fits the true definition of a player. And, of course, in all romantic comedies featuring a player, in the end the player must voluntarily "lose" the game for love. And in this case also go willingly back to war in the hopes of becoming a hero.

Ms. Mansfield

I first had watched this movie last year and I remember realizing me that Marilyn Munroe - THE iconic blonde bimbo - was not the first. I thought about that again later while I was watching Born Yesterday (in which Holliday plays a blonde ditz to perfection). But now that I look at the dates Munroe predates Mansfield - but Holliday predates them both.

Good to know, but does not detract for one minute from my enjoyment of this film. It is a broad, slapstick and wacky movie; very fun, although not at all perfect.

Will watch again, but not for another year!
Three Stars.

Born Yesterday (1950)

I started a new Wishlist for director George Cukor recently. I guess George is best known for My Fair Lady, but I actually loved him first for Philadelphia Story.

According to the biography of Katharine Hepburn that I read "Kate, Remembered" (which actually you could say I didn't so much read as attempt to finish over the course of about 10 weeks during which the library fined my about 40 dollars which I still owe) = George was also the sponsor of the Hepburn-Tracy romance since he allowed Tracy the use of the guest house on his property where Hepburn practically lived with him - although Tracy would never divorce his first wife because he was a Catholic. He was a pretty bad Catholic, if you ask me.

Anyhow, this Wishlist caught "Born Yesterday" and it is my new FAVORITE film. Directed by George Cukor, it stars Judy Holliday and William Holden. Judy plays an excellent ditz, prompting me to imagine both a remake of the film (starring who? Britney Spears? I can't imagine who today can pull off the ditz - a perfect proof of the inferiority of Paris Hilton to the spoiled heiresses of the classic film era is her inability to compare to Marilyn Munroe) and make a clips show about great ditzy blondes.

The lines are so great a few bear repeating:

After being told to read the newspaper and circle anything that confuses her, Billie Dawn makes a move to kiss Paul Verral, he declines. Bille says:
"I'm going to take my pencil and make a circle around you!"

Paul finally corners Billie and asks her to marry him she says no, but when pressed:
"All right I'll think it over but I can tell you already my answer is no."

And finally when Harry threatens her "Shut up! You ain't gonna be tellin' nobody nothin' pretty soon!" she says, gleefully "Double negative!"

This movie is so charming because of Holliday's great performance as a blissfully ignorant woman being educated by a handsome bookworm. He is as intent on her mind as she is on his beauty. Here is a man who has been overlooked by beautiful women who don't want a man of words but a man of action, and along comes a beautiful woman who is enchanted by his intelligence. Now a woman who can easily hold him in her thrall with her looks tries, paradoxically, to entice him with her brain.

It's awesome!

Also, Robert Osbourne told me that JH won an Oscar for her role which she honed on Broadway for 1600 performances. However, she was only considered for the screen role after her performance in Adam's Rib. Previously, everyone from Rita Hayworth (who couldn't be dragged back from Europe) to Lucille Ball was cast in the role. I love Lucy, too, but there is no way she could have out-ditzed Judy!

My new favorite movie!! And made me take up Gin Rummy again.

Will watch again.
Four stars.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Importance of Being Ernest

I love love love Oscar Wilde's dialogue. So of course I tivoed this version of Ernest when I saw it was playing on TCM.

I am trying to watch it now for the second time. You really have to pay attention to get the benefit of the dialogue.

I happened to catch a bio-pic about OW on Logo this weekend - well, I sort of did. Mostly I fast-forwarded to see what Jude law was going to do and how far he would go with playing gay (admirably far, I have new respect for Jude - despite the fact that he's not a particularly strong actor). The actor playing OW is quite hideous and not at all as cute as the real Wilde.

Poor, vain Oscar would die another death if he saw the hair on Steven Fry in this movie. It's like a wilted mushroom cap.

Anyhow, in one scene of this bio-pic OW is watching a rehearsal of one of his plays and he stops the rehearsal to instruct the actor to say the lines as though they are nothing special - as if people always talked this way.

I think this movie must have been colorized because no costume designer could have inflicted that shade of purple on anyone, not even Lady Bracknell.

I want to give this movie four stars, even though I haven't finished reading it.
Four stars.

Pride and Prejudice (1940)

As huge fans of P&P, Jessica, my OTHER friend Jess and I all have strong opinions about the movie and TV versions. We all strongly prefer the BBC miniseries to any other version - all five hours of it.

However, Jessica and I had never seen this version, so we'd thought we'd check it out.

The first thing you notice - and how could you not notice? - are the HUGE dresses. Completely out of keeping with the period and not exactly fashionable in 1940 either. It's like they set this in the same era as "Gone with the Wind". We decided when we saw the stripes in the bottom of the bonnets that they just picked the period costumes they thought would be the most fun.

The entire plot is collapsed: the character of Wickham, who doesn't appear until what you might call the second act of the novel, is in the picture right away. He interacts with Darcy, which he never does in the book. And everything from the book happens strikingly quickly.

The score is very perky and ever-present which is odd for a period piece. Also the are all kinds of anachronisms - like the little tinkly bells in the shops and pig-tails on sister Mary.

The movie is so wrong that the few lines that are actually the same as they are in the book jump out at you.

However, and this is a big however, so it bears repeating - HOWEVER - there can be no denying that Laurence Olivier is a good choice for Darcy. The looks he gives Elizabeth, the way he works every moment that he is on camera - instead of just waiting for his next cue - really stands out. He is smoldering with desire, he is struck dumb with embarrassment, he is stiff and awkward with injured pride - I really believe, after seeing this, that Colin Firth studied him before playing Darcy in the miniseries and quite rightly so.

There are other problems with this movie, though, that make it hard to enjoy LO. It was Jessica who quickly observed that Elizabeth is too old. That's true, but it doesn't bother me nearly as much as some of the other things. Like the costumes, and the missing scenes. Most significantly: Elizabeth never goes to Pemberley, and Darcy never happens in on Elizabeth just after she has read the letter telling her about her sister's disgrace.

Will probably not watch twice.
Three stars. One is for LO. One is purely in honor of Jane Austen's great plot.
The other one is for going all out, whether or not it was poorly spent, it's clear that the studio went for it with the budget.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Two for the Road (1967)

Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney star in this kooky romance. It's not exactly a comedy although I think it's supposed to be sort of funny. It's just undercut by all the sad moments.

Here they are happy (movie is actually color).

The premise is that you are seeing scenes from a series of road trips taken throughout the romance of a couple. The first road trip when they are falling in love, then one when they are newlywed, one when they are with obnoxious friends, one when they are successful but unhappy, one with a small child, and then one when they are on the verge of divorce.

It keeps cutting back and forth and reminds me of an avant-garde Broadway play.

If I could make a whole movie out of just their first two or three trips (the one where they fall in love and the one they take as newlyweds and maybe the one with the obnoxious friends) I think I would like it a lot better. The audience for romantic comedy and the audience for divorce comedy just aren't the same.

Will not watch again, deleted it already without watching.
Two stars.

Take Her, She's Mine (1963)

I watched this last summer - or I should say, I watched as much of it as I can stand.

Jimmy Stewart plays a man going slowly insane as his teenage daughter grows up. He follows her into various unlikely situations and hilarity ensues.

It's not always so hilarious, it's more predictable and suffers from those things that many sixties movies seem suffer from: slow editing, poor dialogue, characters that are hard to take seriously.

In the end, dad comes around. It's hard to find it touching, though, when both father and daughter are such total squares. Maybe that's the problem - the father is square and conservative - something that would have seem sympathetic to adults of that era but now reads as out of touch - and the daughter is supposed to be young and hip, but actually seems square cause she's written by, well, squares.

Will not watch again.
Two Stars.

The Awful Truth (1937)

Cary Grant wishlist again! I've seen this one so I only watched half of it and then Jess and I fast-forwarded through the end to remind ourselves how it ended. She remembered the weird cuckoo-clock and the door that factors into the happy reunion of the couple.

Basically, this is one of those movies where a married couple starts the movie off with a hasty divorce and we wait for them to get reunited (and remarried) at the end.

Cary Grant also does this in The Philadelphia Story, doesn't he? He's often divorced. In House Boat, too, he's about to get a divorce when his wife dies.

Anyhow, they are supposedly sharing custody of the dog, who is played by Asta again! In the movie his name is Mr. Smith.

I have to say, though, I love Irene Dunne's outfits, even her cooky hats are kind of entertaining more than annoying, but I HATE her hair.

I feel too sorry for the characters (especially Ralph Bellamy's Oklahoma Oilman) to give it more than three stars, but it's a great romantic comedy.

Will definitely watch again, sometime.
Three stars.

On the Town (1949)

New York, New York! Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra! Gene Kelly, Gene Kelly! Vera-Ellen, Vera-Ellen!

This is the YOUNG Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly

I discovered the list of movies for the month of July on TCM site and Tivoed this in expectation of my best friend Jessica's visit.

Jess can't be credited with introducing me to musicals, since I was already crazy for Sound of Music by the age of three and we didn't become friends until I was five. However Jess and her family definitely fostered my love of musicals. Her dad was one of the first people ever to record video tapes and he created a large personal library which introduced me to many musicals: Damn Yankees, Bye-Bye Birdie, Oklahoma to name a few.

Anyhow this is the movie about three sailors on shore leave for 24 hours finding girls and adventures in New York City...and hilarity ensues. And musical numbers ensue. Including the famous New York, New York!

Love the costumes, the short chartreuse dress jacket over the black-and-white striped dress that Frank Sinatra's very friendly taxi driver, Brunhilde Estherhazy wears for the big Empire State Building dance number reminded me of the chic wedding colors of our friends Cindy and Erin.

Jessica's choice quote is a line of the awkward roommate Lucy Shmeeler who's nasal voice reminded us of Jan from Grease. The line: "I'm just a streetcar named impulsive!"

There's also the cop who hears that the dinosaur collapsed and says "Oh no! She's my favorite singing star, Dinah Shore!"

I think my favorite is when the female anthropology student is caught kissing the third sailor (the one that's not Frank or Gene) and she says she's making a study of men. The taxi driver quips "Dr. Kinsey, I presume?" Who knew Kinsey would be so well known and current enough to be a funny joke in 1949?

Singing, dancing, great colorful costumes, great songs, adorable young Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelley. Tap dancing. A good time was had by all.

In spite of the long expressionist dance number in the second act which we were tempted to fast-forward, it's perfect.

Will most definitely watch again, perhaps this week.
Four stars.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Tivo suggested this for me - and how right you are, Tivo!

Barbara Stanwyck plays a magazine editor who pretends to have a Martha-Stewart-esque family life on a farm in Connecticut.

Unfortunately, she gets called on to bring a war hero home for Christmas and is forced to fake the life she has been writing about for real. Hilarity ensues.

I haven't watched it in ages, but apparently I missed the beginning, because I don't remember it at all.

Okay - she actually borrows a baby for the purpose of the charade. Awesome!

Four stars (the last is just for being a holiday movie, my favorites!)

Once Upon A Time (1944)

It must be Cary Grant week on TCM, because two more CG movies recorded this weekend.

This movie is nothing if not over-the-top. A little orphan boy with a dancing caterpillar? Come on! The boy bursts into tears at the drop of a hat all the way through the movie. He's like Opie on steroids.

The caterpillar spends the whole movie in a box - kind of like the original Tinkerbell being played by a beam of light - except that it's hard to take that as a modern audience - couldn't they have at least done like a puppet?

I'm used to over-the-top from CG, but both his character (the enthusiastic slightly shyster theater-owner) and the prudish love interest were played straight, not for laughs (as far as I can tell) - and that was just a bit much for me. I dare anyone but Walt Disney to remake this movie. It's like a live-action Pinnochio, actually. With a caterpillar instead of a cricket. In fact, in the movie a rep from Disney shows up to try to buy the caterpillar. That's actually interesting - that Disney was already the stand-by corporate heavyweight of the entertainment world in 1944.

Nowadays you can't even say "Disney" without their permission.

The caterpillar's name is Curly and the boy is named Pinky so I had a hard time keeping that straight. Every time someone said "where's Pinky?" I had to think if they meant the caterpillar or the boy. Also this boy has a lisp so every time he says the caterpillar's name it sounds like "Curwy" and he keeps repeating that "Curwy couldn't live wiffowt me!" It was about as much as I could take.

All-in-all, I couldn't have watched if I wasn't simultaneously online-shopping.
Would not watch again.
Two stars.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bathing Beauty (1944)

I caught this on TCM this Sunday morning - why does TCM play all the good movies in the morning? Red Skelton is sneaking into a woman's college to pursue the love of his life so I'm sold.

Still watching it. It must be colorized because the colors are crazy. Maybe not, though. It is sort of a musical since Red Skelton plays a songwriter.

I was sold when a strange old man started drunkenly plotting his life in fruit on the bar. And what can I say to a movie where a chorus of college girls coaxes a spinster music professor into playing jive on her organ while they accompany her on drums and tamborines? Heaven, pure heaven.

I also had to rewind and fast-forward to examine the hairstyles, too. Each girl wears red lipstick and red fingernails and a perfect reverse flip with curled hair. Each hair-do is slightly different on each side and slightly different from every other girl's.

It is purely fascinating.

Okay I'm finished watching and I'm putting this on my "need to watch again" list because there was way too much to take in at once - the grand finale was a water ballet! There were people shoved into a closet together and a man with a guitar climbing through a window and lots of other Zany Comedy Moments. It was like RS was channeling Buster Keaton!

The colorizing is almost too much to handle - it must have been colorized in the sixties when matching orange ensembles seemed like a cool idea.

Need to watch again.
Three Stars.

Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)

Lucille Ball was the main draw for me - and I'd recently seen "Cheaper by the Dozen" another huge-family comedy. I missed it earlier this year when it deleted off my Tivo before I could watch it so I created a wish list just so I could catch it again.

That's how much I wanted to see it. Past tense. Now that it's on my Tivo, I actually haven't even finished watching it, because it's SOOOOO SLOWWWWW.

First of all, there are two narrators narrating long sequences of b-roll. There are clever editing effects which is actually always interesting for me (oh they could split screens three ways in the sixties, really?) but usually doesn't contribute to the plot or the story.

The two main characters are older (widow and widower) and their self-declared "war" on their own children (announced during voice over #1) actually reveals a lot to me about why my parents resented their parents in 1968.

They seem to be trying to create moments of physical comedy for Lucille Ball, which is actually just kind of sad because it's really a plot in which the parents make more sense as the "straight man" characters against the antics of the EIGHTEEN children.

Yes, that's right, eighteen. When they get married, predictably, about halfway through the movie (like I said, it's SLOOOOWWWW) I was trying to guess if that was a Catholic ceremony - why was I guessing - who else would have eight or ten children? Not Episcopalians, that's for sure!

So many things about this movie just make me go "hmmmm" that I was tempted to write a rap song about it. Just kidding.

Still haven't' finished watching (though I plan to, it was pleasingly bizarre and intriguing, in a way).


In the second act, it gets even worse/better as little Phillip starts HIS voice over! Most excellently bad! Lucille Ball picks a fight with a nun, and angry children leave dinner (the horror!) saying "EXCUSE ME!" as if it meant "fuck you"!

I've decided this is the ultimate Brady Bunch episode. In fact, which came first, this or the Brady Bunch? I'm not sure - it seems very similar except that LB plays both Carol AND Alice.

One star.
Not worth renting. Ok for a slow night. Might also work as a kind of cinematic birth control device. LB uses her children this way, saying to an unwanted date "I AM THE MOTHER OF EIGHT CHILDREN". Yeah, Lucy, that IS a turn-off to most guys.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mr. Lucky (1943)

My Tivo's Cary Grant wishlist again. He is unbelievably sexy as a smooth-talking gangster who woos an heiress as part of a swindle. He teaches her cockney rhyming slang. She teaches him to tie a windsor knot.

He has an awesome cast of sailor and gangster sidekicks. She has an awesome wardrobe and a butler. They have great chemistry.

I'm going to call this "the other Casablanca" because there are so many similar elements: a reluctant hero, a gambling operation, a girl who's both innocent and savvy. Missing, of course, are the Nazis - this IS New York City. But I think you can see that, coming out a year later, it reflected a lot of the same themes.

I'm surmising (from what I remember of American history) that Americans still weren't entirely sure they wanted to BE in this war. By incorporating this moral struggle between self-preservation and saving the world from the (by now) clearly deranged and determined Nazis into the two main characters, the film let the general public work out for themselves where they stood. Most of all, it seems it was harder and harder for folks who are just out for themselves to justify their isolationist rationale. Frankly, they just look like cowards.

Anyway, four stars.
Plan to watch it again.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Gidget (1959)

Tivo deleted before I could watch - and I was totally in the mood for it, too. :(

I discovered this last year and now I may have to rent it since it's the PERFECT summer movie.

Sandra Dee was fifteen playing eighteen when she made it and it is awesome. Has an awesome ending, awesome, goofy costumes. A SONG of all things, and a quote from grandma as a key turning point in the plot.

It is not a musical, but there is a song in the middle for some strange reason - but it feels right, somehow. Perfectly cheesy.

Also, great nicknames like Gidget and Moondoggie!

What's not to love?
MUST watch again.
Four stars, for sure!

Desk Set (1957)

My favorite Tracy/Hepburn and it wasn't included in my Tracy/Hepburn DVD box set and Tivo deleted before I had a chance to watch. It just came on again!

An efficiency expert introduces a computer into the research department of a TV network causing the employees to panic about being replaced by a machine. Antics ensue. Antics which bring KH and ST together.

This must have been colorized, because there are some crazy colors. That lime green sweater! Hepburn looks GORGEOUS. She is in her prime.

I didn't realize that Nora Ephron's parents were screenwriters. They wrote Carousel and Desk Set and Take Her, She's Mine! I suppose Nora followed in their footsteps by writing one movie that can't be improved upon (When Harry Met Sally, of course) and several that I can't stand to watch (You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle). They had three daughters. Amy seems to have written only one screenplay, but Delia keeps trying. She's responsible for that awful John Travolta Nightmare "Michael" where he plays a real life angel and Mixed Nuts! She should be banned from writing.

We were about to watch "Kiss Them for Me" when Kim changed her mind and said she didn't want to see a war movie so I happened to notice Helen Turpin is the hair stylist for both films. Make a note - is the hair any good? I'll let you know!

Will watch again.

Three stars.
Would be four but I don't personally find ST at all attractive so it's downgraded. Sorry.

Merrily We Live (1938)

What is with that title? Merrily We Live? There is just something wrong with that! Also, the entire cast walks arm-in-arm singing a theme song during the OPENING credits. That is gay gay gay and I, for one, think it's awesome that you can still tell a movie that is trying too hard to be a hit seventy years later.

This followed another movie I watched on TCM this weekend and I watched it while baking Whoopie Pies (recipe from Cooks Country). Maybe it's Billie Burke weekend (props to Trevor for correctly identifying her as Glinda the Good Witch from the original Wizard of Oz - I watched three movies without picking up on that...what's the matter with me?).

Anyhow, I loved this one. People faint through the whole movie and it is one of those thirties movies where we make fun of the crazy rich people which I have a feeling was supposed to take the edge off the Great Depression by making the rich seem ridiculous and at the same time letting you glimpse their lifestyle. Then again, those crazy rich people is still a popular theme today (Monster-in-Law, anyone? Wedding Crashers?).

There is a great butler character and a great zany younger sister (I love zany younger sisters like Meet Me In St. Louis' Tootie and Philadelphia Story's Margaret) but the romance is really great since the female lead starts out thinking she's kicking yet another of her mother's charity cases out of the house before he can wreak havoc and ends thinking that the love of her life is dead. In between they go through about a dozen different scenarios, all very entertaining. I love this kind of thing where you are never thinking about the lead characters falling in love but about the comic scenario they are caught up in and then before you know it, you realize you are sold on the love story as well.

Would watch again, in fact, already rewound to re-watch some scenes which I missed while baking Whoopie - I said BAKING you pervert.

Four Stars.

Topper (1937)

My Tivo's Cary Grant wish list picked this up. I sat right down to watch because it's a comedy and involves ghosts and Cary Grant - a really young CG.

First off CG looks great in this movie and it features special effects that I really have no idea how they achieved in that era. I really would like to know. They also had a really interesting rectangular-shape wipe transition early on in the film that must have been quite a feat at the time. Mainly, the ghosts disappear and reappear right on camera about four or five times which probably was a really big deal at the time. The equivalent of Transformers, probably.

CG and Constance Bennet play a dashing young couple - kind of an F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda at the height of their partying. They die in a fantasitc car wreck - you spend the first thirty minutes waiting for them to die in a car wreck cause you know that they will die and cause they drive everywhere like maniacs in this crazy cool car with a really weird fin on the back that I imagine was the 1930s equivalent of a DeLorean.

Anyway, after death they try to do a good deed by loosening up their stiff banker friend - Topper - who seems like he's not having any fun with his life and antics ensue.

The antics are alternately funny and not - hard to tell which gags might have been fresh at the time but are really old hat now. Like the invisible ghosts moving things causes all kinds of people to make surprised faces and rub their eyes - but in the days before Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie that might have been a laugh riot - who knows?

I like/hate the character played by Billie Burke - the prim proper and puritan patrician wife of the banker who just wants to be invited to a party by the Stuyvesants. But my FAVORITE character is the irritated butler who gets in the middle of the feuding husband and wife.

Cary Grant is really handsome and Constance Bennet is awesome as the playful, flirtatious, sexy but still totally good-hearted and somewhat innocent girl - the epitomy of who we all think we would have liked to have been in the 30s. She also has great hair and great outfits and gets to appear suddenly atop a ledge in a new outfit holding a bottle of champagne and get the better of a rude bellboy all in the same act and don't we all want to do that someday?

Three Stars. Would watch again.

A Bill of Divorcement (1932)

My Tivo picked this up for me under my Katharine Hepburn wishlist (I have three wishlists: for KH, Cary Grant and Sandra Dee) on TCM. It's a drama, which normally I don't like (prefer, in this order: romantic comedy, comedy, musical, western - I generally skip horror and drama).

In fact, I was set to watch Little Women, which I've seen before and don't like that much (because I always think Jo should end up with Laurie but that's another post). However, in the introduction to Little Women Robert Osbourne (the TCM host and my TV movie buddy) said that A Bill of Divorcement was KH's first movie, so I thought I ought to at least give it a chance.

Katharine Hepburn plays a young woman whose father is in a mental institution and has been for as long as she can remember. She is recently engaged and very much in love. Her mother has divorced the mental patient and is about to remarry a guy who can buy her a mink (which is supposed to be proof that he's the one who can really make her happy) when suddenly the father arrives at the house.

This is the point where you know it's based on a play because the only setting they ever appear in is this house. There might be several rooms, I'm not really sure because I was baking pies, but it's all in the house. The father has "come to his senses" all of a sudden and walked right out of the mental institution and home - this is strange because he doesn't recognize the house and makes some reference to how it's bigger than the old place - meaning presumably this is a house he's never been to before.

Anyhow, the mother gets married but can't bear to tell the father the truth and KH is caught in the middle of the drama trying to protect both parents. She's supposed to be somewhat temperamental and prone to outbursts - inclined towards insanity, we assume. So right away she takes her father's side, but she still sympathizes with her mother.

In the end, she breaks off her engagement because she's afraid of having crazy babies and sacrifices herself to live with her father so her mother can go, guilt-free, to live with the mink-buying man of her dreams. The ending is really unsatisfactory and strange - it just kind of trails off with a father-daughter piano-playing scene.

At first I was just completely struck by how KH was made up in the 20s style. Her mouth is dark and precise and her face pale and her eyes very dramatic and dark and pointy with slender eyebrows.
This plays her up in a such a different way than in her later movies when she was all mouth and cheekbones and eyebrows with very natural eyes. I was totally fascinated with this for the whole first act.

The whole movie was melodramatic in the extreme and I was left with mixed feelings about the way mental illness was portrayed. (My dad's a psychotherapist and I have several mentally ill family members so I'm fairly sensitive to portrayals of "crazy" people in movies).

The mentally ill father is played by John Barrymore (grandpa of Drew) melodramatically as a weepy, sentimental mess with a temper. Since all the characters are over-played that wasn't really troubling - almost every character was an offensive stereotype so, really, this guy gets fair treatment.

There were two theories advanced in the movie: that the mentally ill father was inherently insane because it was "in his blood" and that he came home from the war with shell-shock. JB makes a great speech about fighting to protect people who then marry other people and all he got was shell-shock - that will make the top ten list of guilt-trip monologues, for sure.

It's not that different from today, really - the causes of mental illness are still linked to both trauma and genetics. But the idea that you would not marry because you couldn't have children (no way!) and not have children because they might possibly have mental illness (huh?) seem completely dated.

Also, since these days we wouldn't put the guy away for what seems like a mild case of depression or PTSD, she'd never have got the Bill of Divorcement in the first place, and the whole movie would be blown.

Would NOT watch again. Definitely wouldn't have finished if I wasn't baking pie.

Two stars.