Archive for October 22nd, 2012

by Judy Geater

This is a film that has its wedding cake and eats it. James Stewart sums it all up beautifully in two caustic lines – on the one hand: “The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges.” That’s certainly a big selling point for a movie set in an impossibly luxurious mansion on the eve of a grand wedding, amid a whirl of champagne and gowns by Adrian. But, on the other hand, as Stewart snarls on the phone: “This is the Voice of Doom calling. Your days are numbered, to the seventh son of the seventh son.” The Philadelphia Story, one of the greatest of screwball comedies, celebrates the quirkiness of rich society families, as epitomised in Katharine Hepburn’s haughty, upper-crust heroine, Tracy Samantha Lord. But it also suggests that their days are indeed numbered, and shows this American aristocrat having to change and bend with the times.

The opening scene is a brief silent drama which shows Tracy’s violent break-up with her husband, CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), as she contemptuously breaks his golf clubs and he retaliates by pushing her through a door, deciding against hitting her. From this dramatic break-up, it’s a case of going full circle and getting back to the point where the couple fall in love. Just as Tracy is about to marry a safe but boring businessman, George Kittredge (John Howard), Dexter turns up at the eleventh hour and starts turning everything upside down. He brings in a reporter and photographer from a gossip magazine, Spy, (he has been blackmailed into doing so) and things are soon becoming more complicated, and comic, by the minute. It turns out that the reporter, Macaulay/Mike Connor (Stewart) is really a poetic short story writer, and Tracy starts to fall under his spell, threatening her forthcoming marriage – while the rest of her eccentric family are busy causing their own brand of mayhem. (more…)

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Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in extraordinary “The Sessions”

Screen cap from perverse, melancholic and exhilarating French fantasy “Holy Motors” by Leos Carax

by Sam Juliano

Time is passing at record speed, and people stateside are thinking  beyond the trick-or-treat ritual and costume sharing of next week to the purchasing of butterballs at the local supermarket.  As it is pumpkins are to be seen on porches, office desks and at produce depots, and those with an aversion to brisk temperatures are actually turning on the warm air.  Here at Wonders in the Dark business moves forward as usual, with one of the most spirited posts in the four years and two months the site has been going, under the voting thread for 1961, won by a comfortable margin by the landmark musical West Side Story.  Travel there at your own risk!  So far about 230 comments have been posted, many of a rather contentious nature.  The comedy countdown is better than half way complete, and after the present week, there will be 40 entries remaining, meaning eight weeks up until #1 is unveiled only days before Christmas.

Redefining the ‘bionic man’ our Chilean friend and colleague Jaimie Grijalba continues with his own miraculous Top 100 ‘horror countdown’ at Exodus 8:2, while the petition trio of Dee Dee, Lori Moore and Barbara LaMotta head onward and outward with their own miracle project aimed at gathering support for a ‘John Garfield’ boxset.  Just on Sunday morning Dee reported a slew of new signatures, which can be accessed on the page thread denoted by the link under the sidebar photo of the iconic actor. (more…)

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