As someone who loves old movies and Turner Classic Movies’ annual Summer Under the Stars, you’d think I’d be waiting with great anticipation and have my DVR set ahead of time for the first few days of movies. But for my memory, a year is a long time and I seem to always wake up and realize it’s that time again a few days or more late.
This time I just missed a few, but then I didn’t look far enough ahead and missed Fred Astaire so I’m disappointed about that. Finally wised up and I already have Google calendar set to remind me on July 29 next year that it’s time to start perusing the stars and the films.
My first pick this time was The Actress, which I thought I’d not seen before. I think they confused me by having it on Teresa Wright day. The main leads are Jean Simmons and Spencer Tracy. Tracy mainly has one note in this one — yelling — and Simmons joins him quite often. The plot wasn’t interesting enough to distract me from the constant shouting. I’m trying to burn the title and description into my brain because I really don’t want to EVER see that one again.
Next up, I picked up The Romantic Englishwoman with Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson. Didn’t think much of it either. One of those ponderous, slow-moving things they liked to make in the 70’s* with the –in those days– obligatory but really unnecessary nude scenes. However, I always liked Glenda Jackson so I enjoyed seeing her.
Led me to realize I’d not seen anything with her in the cast in years so I looked her up and discovered she went into politics, becoming an MP and, for a while, a Junior Minister under Tony Blair. Quite a switch.
Things started looking up on Katherine Hepburn day. Instead of following my usual pattern lately of mostly picking up movies I’ve never seen, I chose mostly films I love. Bringing Up Baby never fails to please and I’ve long since lost count of how many times I’ve seen it.
As unbelievable as it is for Cary Grant to be a nerd he carries it off well and I always appreciate his great comedic skills in this one. And Hepburn, stepping away from her more-usual smart, independent woman roles, to play the flighty madcap Susan, is such a treat. Okay, I know most of her roles up to then were more the ingenue and often flighty but I don’t care much for her earliest movies; by this one she’s dropped the over-theatrical tone that bugs me in most of the earlier films.
I also chose Adam’s Rib. It’s one I don’t care to see too often, but I do enjoy it and this time I particularly appreciated Judy Holliday’s performance. I also managed to realize for the first time ever that the mistress character’s Jean Hagen always seems familiar to me because she later played Danny Thomas’s wife on Make Room for Daddy.
The final old favorite I picked up was Woman of the Year. I never completely buy the attraction from these totally opposite characters (I know, I know, the old saw is that’s the big romance, but it’s always been a stretch for me to believe), but I have to see this one again once in a while if only for the final scenes of Hepburn screwing up the prep 0f Tracy’s breakfast.
The only one sitting on the DVR unseen is the one that’s a first for me: Undercurrent with Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum, directed by Vincente Minelli. Based on the description, I’ll be surprised if I watch all the way through.
I don’t think I have anything set to record for Raymond Massey. Even though there are lots I haven’t seen, most are genres I don’t watch. I am picking up a couple of Robert Walker’s films tomorrow.
I really knew of him more because I used to see his son in a lot of stuff and my parents would tell me about his famous father. I’m always surprised to read how young Walker Sr. was when he died — 32- as there are so many pictures in which his face looks, shall we say, more lived in than that. Hard living I guess. Looking forward to checking out these films I’ve not seen.
*I know film buffs usually think that’s a great era but I’m so seriously not fond I’ll often not watch something just because it’s from the 70’s. And I NEVER watch movies about the Mafia so no, I’ve not seen those beloved faves from the era and I doubt I ever will. Nothing about the multitude of clips I’ve seen that are supposedly showing me why they’re brilliant has ever inspired me to want to watch any of those movies.