Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Blogging This Week, But A New Poll

Katie-Bar-The-Door and I are celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary on Wednesday and will be quite busy for the next few days as a result, so no blogging this week. But I've left you a new poll to compensate: "Looking ahead to 1931-32, four movies will definitely get Katie nominations for best picture—À Nous La Liberté, Frankenstein, Grand Hotel and Scarface. Which movie should get the fifth nomination?"

Your choices, with a brief description of each:

The Champ—Wallace Beery won half an Oscar for his portrayal of a washed-up alcoholic boxer. Co-starred child actor Jackie Cooper at his wailing and weeping best.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—Fredric March won the other half of the best actor Oscar for his dual role as the stuff-shirt Dr. Jekyll and his libidinous alter ego, Mr. Hyde. For my money, the best version of this story, which is saying something considering John Barrymore and Spencer Tracy also did classic takes on this Robert Louis Stevenson tale. Strong support from a young Miriam Hopkins as one of his victims.

Freaks—Tod Browning (Dracula) directed this cult horror classic about circus performers and the so-called "normal" people who prey on them. By the end, you'll be asking yourself "who are the real freaks in this tale?"

The Guardsman—A rare screen appearance by the husband and wife team, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, The Guardsman is a comedy about marital jealousy, with Lunt pretending to be another man so he can test his wife's fidelity. Roland Young (Topper) provides topnotch support.

Mädchen In Uniform—German-language story of a schoolgirl who develops a romantic attachment to her female teacher, one of the first movies to explicitly (and sensitively) address the subject of homosexuality.

Marius—First leg of the so-called "Fanny Trilogy," this is a French-language romantic comedy about a young man who can't decide between love and wanderlust. Marcel Pagnol wrote it, Alexander Korda directed.

Monkey Business—The Marx Brothers stow away aboard a transatlantic ocean liner. Sample dialogue: Captain: "One of them goes around with a black moustache." Groucho: "So do I; if I had my choice, I'd go around with a little blonde."

The Music Box—Probably the best of Laurel and Hardy's two-reel comedy shorts, the boys retell the story of Sisyphus, only this time with a piano instead of a large rock. Won an Oscar for best short subject and was included in the National Film Registry in 1997.

Shanghai Express—"It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily." So saith Marlene Dietrich in the fourth of her seven collaborations with director Josef von Sternberg. This time she plays a prostitute who toys with the man who threw her over way back when. Oh, wait, that's the plot of all the Dietrich-von Sternberg movies. No matter. It's beautiful to look at.

The Smiling Lieutenant—An early Lubitsch musical comedy starring Maurice Chevalier as an army lieutenant who loves Claudette Colbert but unwittingly gets himself engaged to marry a young princess (Miriam Hopkins).

Waterloo Bridge—A prostitute falls in love with a naive soldier during World War I. The pre-Code Mae Clarke version, not the expurgated Vivian Leigh version.

You've got two weeks rather than the usual one to respond, so plenty of time to research your choices. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights." Which if you squint and don't think too much about it, somehow vaguely applies. So have at it.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Thanks Myth -- I promise to research the candidates! And sincere congrats to you and Katie.

Mythical Monkey said...

Thanks, Who! Somehow I am reminded of a story about my in-laws. My mother-in-law thought she was having a heart attack and she told my father-in-law that she loved him and that they'd had five good years together. Later when it turned out to be a false alarm, he asked "What did you mean 'five good years?' We've been married for thirty." And she said, "Well, we had all those kids ..."

My mother-in-law reminds me a lot of Alice Brady in My Man Godfrey, by the way, if that means anything to you. Very sweet, very out-going, every so slightly dotty ...

KC said...

I made a choice, but it was difficult. 1932 is like my 1939; there are so many movies from that year that are among my favorites. Twenty years? Wow--good for you. Congrats to you and Katie!

Mythical Monkey said...

I made a choice, but it was difficult.

I myself haven't voted -- I got to that fifth choice and realized there were too many good movies to narrow it down. I'm going with whatever the people decide.

Twenty years? Wow--good for you. Congrats to you and Katie!

Thanks! It's been a great twenty. Here's to twenty more!

mister muleboy said...

Now that's a great picture!

Could use some more contrast, but that was largely a printing problem. . . .

mister muleboy said...

one of the first movies to explicitly (and sensitively) address the subject of homosexuality.

I've seen a few of the more recent offerings in the canon

Lupner said...

Warm congrats to you and Katie BTD, Mister Myth Monk!! I plan to celebrate in your honor by spending an evening watching TCM, including a toast to the Katie Awards. (Trust you two have plans that are a little more exciting and wish you a lovely celebration.)

Uncle Tom said...

muleboy's "Alternative Wedding Album" (I think that's the title)he put together for the Monkey's wedding is hounds down the best wedding album of all time. It looks like something more akin to the photos in Life magazine than a wedding album. GREAT stuff.

Uncle Tom said...

'hounds down'?

not sure what I was thinking about when I wrote that - obviously should be 'hands down'

on the other hand, maybe I've invented a new phrase - I'll expect a royalty anytime you use it......of course I'll have to give 40% to Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.....

Mythical Monkey said...

'hounds down'? ... obviously should be 'hands down'

I just figured you had employed one of the five dogs living in your house as a secretary. It's so hard to get good help these days ...

Maggie said...

Ooh, coming down to the wire. I don't want to sway anyone's vote or give one movie a "plug" but I'm betting a jar of "herring" on this.

Mythical Monkey said...

I'm betting a jar of "herring" on this.

Herring? Pickled herring? I had pickled herring for breakfast once in Newcastle while Katie and I were living in England. It was very purple and tasted not a bit like chicken. But not bad.

I myself have not voted. I like all of these movies and found it impossible to choose just one. Thus I leave the hard work to my very fine readers in whom I have complete faith.

Katie said...

It wasn't breakfast Monkey, it was a dinner appetizer in a hotel outside of Sheffield when we were on an English Heritage tour. The choices were fruit salad or herring and you (and only you I believe) chose the herring. The fruit salad was very nice.

Wow, I hope you're better at movie facts than what you ate for dinner 10 years ago!

Mythical Monkey said...

Wow, I hope you're better at movie facts than what you ate for dinner 10 years ago!

"We met at nine."
"We met at eight."
"I was on time."
"No, you were late."
"Ah yes! I remember it well."

Say, weren't we in Gigi together?

Uncle Tom said...

Gigi - with Ben Affleck and J-Lo?

That's some joke, eh boss?