I’ve decided to go on a bit of a mission to watch more old films – cause there are SO MANY that I haven’t seen, and I feel like there are so many favourites out there that I just haven’t met yet! Old movies make me happy, and I am trying to actively cultivate happy things at the moment. Plus it feels like I am accomplishing something by learning about vintage fashions and culture and everything, and learning makes me happy! My parents and I watched FIVE old movies this last week! Pretty good start if you ask me 😉
Monkey Business (1952)
This was a hilarious romp of a time (Wikipedia says it’s genre is “screwball comedy” which seems to be to be a great genre) with cool people in it, and a monkey who does some very advanced science. It was very silly and fun! I didn’t really know Cary Grant before this movie, but he has a really cool accent and I enjoyed that a lot. Apparently this is called a transatlantic or mid-atlantic accent – a sort of British-American mixture that nobody really spoke unless they were very rich or in theatre. So everybody was kind of faking this accent to seem fancy, but Cary Grant spoke this way a tiny bit more naturally than most, because he was born in England and only moved to America when he was 16. Anyway, I discovered that Cary Grant is pretty cool, so most of the other movies we saw this week had Cary Grant in them 😛
You can read more about the weirdness of the trans-atlantic accent here if you’re super keen 😉
We’re Not Married (1952)
This one wasn’t really the best hahaha but it was still entertaining! There are multiple storylines but they all just play out in sequence rather than being interwoven in any way, so it’s sort of like many short stories, rather than a Love Actually situation. There is a lot of bickering. The best bit is when Marilyn is overjoyed not to be married! She’s just fabulous. Cary Grant is not in this movie.
Sophia Loren is charming, and Cary Grant plays a bit of an idiot, but he gets it together in the end. This movie was made fantastic by the hilarious youngest child, Robert, who is an absolute gem and tells everybody what is what. It’s worth watching just to see this kid in action. Sophia Loren also teaches us how to keep your cool when somebody buys you a tacky dress as a mean present: just take the giant flowers off it, and turn it into a knockout, and it will all backfire on them. Also in this film, Sophia Loren teaches us a great song called “Bing! Bang! Bong!”. So really, there is a lot to learn from this movie!
And here is the Bing! Bang! Bong! song:
Bringing up Baby (1938)
I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS MOVIE. Katherine Hepburn manages about a million words a minute, Cary Grant is a paleontologist, and Baby is actually the name of a very talented leopard actor who plays both a tame leopard and a mean leopard. It’s disastrous the entire way through and just very, very funny. According to wikipedia, this is another “screwball comedy”. Wikipedia has also informed me that one of the main features of screwball comedies is that they have strong female leads. I have decided I am a big fan.
At the time, this movie was totally dismissed. It was such a flop that Katherine Hepburn got labelled as “box office poison” until her later success with The Philadelphia Story, when she became all the rage again. In more recent times however, it has won many accolades and is now considered one of the all-time comedy greats.
Wikipedia on screwball comedies:
A cool little video the New York Times made:
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
I’ve been an enormous fan of the 1956 musical remake of this film, High Society, for a very long time, and have been meaning to get around to watching the original for quite a while! Watching Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby reminded me to watch it… and to my surprise, on finding the movie, I realised it also starred Cary Grant! What an excellent coincidence.
This film is gorgeous, and High Society is a very very close remake, so it felt very familiar! Their scripts are almost identical. Although I think High Society is still my MOST favourite, it’s really a very very close call! I mean, Katherine Hepburn vs. Grace Kelly?! Cary Grant vs. Bing Crosby?! James Stewart vs. Frank Sinatra?! It’s really not possible to choose! High Society however also has the fabulous Louis Armstrong, and substitutes jazz music for alcoholism, so for me it justttt takes the cake 😉
Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn’s on-screen chemistry is magic, and their comedic timing stellar. Turns out they were in two more romantic comedies together – so those are definitely on my to watch list!
That’s it for this week in old movies!
tl;dr – screwball comedies are the TOPS; Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and Marilyn are always ever amazing; go watch Bringing Up Baby, you will not regret it 😉