Friday, September 30, 2011

Pride and Prejudice(1940).

A film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel of the same name. Robert Z. Leonard directed. Cast: Greer Garson, Mary Boland, Maureen O'Sullivan. The film begins when the girls are out shopping for new dresses when they see two gentlemen and a lady in a beautiful carriage. They learn that the men are Mr. Bingley, who is renting the estate of Netherfield and Mr. Darcy, both wealthy, eligible bachelors. After the Bennets return home, Mrs. Bennet tries to talk Mr. Bennet, into seeing Mr. Bingley, but he refuses, saying that they have already met.

At the ball, Elizabeth overhears Mr. Darcy talking about not wanting to dance with her. She also meets for the first time Mr. Wickham. It turns out that Mr. Darcy does ask her to dance, but she refuses, when Mr. Wickham asks her right in front of Darcy, she accepts.

The Bennets' cousin, Mr. Collins, arrives, looking for a wife and sets his sights on Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy, sees her distress and asks her to dance. After seeing the obnoxious behaviour of her mother and younger sisters, he leaves again. The next day, Mr. Collins asks her to marry him, but she refuses. He then asks her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, to marry him.

When Elizabeth visits Charlotte in her new home, she is introduced to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and also sees Mr. Darcy there. Later, he asks her to marry him, because she believes he stole Wickham's fortune, and also because he broke up the romance between Mr. Bingley and Jane, she refuses.

When Elizabeth returns to Longborn, she learns that Lydia has eloped with Wickham. Mr. Darcy tells her that Wickham will never marry Lydia and that Wickham had tried to elope with his 15-year-old sister, Georgiana. Elizabeth, realizes that she is in love with him, but believes he will never see her again because of Lydia's disgraceful elopement. Lydia and Wickham, do return home married. Lady Catherine, tells the family that Mr. Darcy found Lydia and forced Wickham to marry her. Darcy and Elizabeth proclaim their love for each other.

Greer Garson, did a wonderful job playing the feisty, high spirited.. Elizabeth.

Laurence Olivier ( 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) career as a stage and film actor spanned more than six decades and included a wide variety of roles: Shakespeare's Othello and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night to the sadistic Nazi dentist Christian Szell in Marathon Man and the Nazi-hunter in The Boys from Brazil. A High church clergyman's son who found fame on the West End stage, Olivier became determined early on to master Shakespeare, and eventually came to be regarded as one of the foremost Shakespeare interpreters of the 20th century. He continued to act until the year before his death in 1989. Olivier played more than 120 stage roles: Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo, Hamlet, Othello, Uncle Vanya, and Archie Rice in The Entertainer. He performed in nearly sixty films, including: William Wyler's Wuthering Heights, Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing, Richard Attenborough's Oh! What a Lovely War, and A Bridge Too Far, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Sleuth, John Schlesinger's Marathon Man, Daniel Petrie's The Betsy, Desmond Davis' Clash of the Titans, and his own Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III. He also preserved his Othello on film, with its stage cast virtually intact. For television, he starred in The Moon and Sixpence, John Gabriel Borkman, Long Day's Journey into Night, Brideshead Revisited, The Merchant of Venice, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and King Lear, among others.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939).

A British film based on the novel of the same name by James Hilton. It was directed by Sam Wood. Cast: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn, John Mills, and Paul Henreid.

The movie begins when 83 year-old Mr. Chipping, a retired schoolteacher stays home because he is feeling under the weather and he falls asleep and his life is shown in a flashback dream:

When young Charles Chipping, first arrives to teach Latin to the Brookfield students, he becomes a target to their practical jokes. He becomes a strict disciplinarian as a result, making him respected, but not very well liked and he worries about his future as a teacher. His friend German teacher, Max Staefel, invites him to vacation with him in Austria. While hiking on the mountain, Chipping "rescues" Kathy Ellis, while she is out riding her bike.

They meet again in Vienna and dance to the Blue Danube Waltz. Max shares with her that the Danube River appears blue, only to those who are in love. As Chipping looks at the river, he notices that it is blue. They marry and return to England, where Kathy becomes well liked by everyone. During their very short marriage, she dies in childbirth, along with their baby. As the years pass, Chips becomes a much loved teacher, with several generations of students. Chips, retires at age 65, but is asked to fill in as headmaster, because of the shortage of teachers during World War I. He remembers his wife Kathy's prediction, that he would become headmaster one day. During a bombing attack by a Germans, Chips and the boys keep on working on their studies.

Now.. on his deathbed he overhears the men talking about him not having any children. He tells them, " I have thousands of them ... thousands of them ... and all boys."

She received her first Oscar nomination for the role in this film, but lost to Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind.

Greer Garson is wonderful as always in her role as the intelligent, free spirit "Mrs. Chips". The film is charming and sentimental and you certainly will need a box of Kleenex while watching this amazing film.

Lyn Harding (12 October 1867 – 26 December 1952). Was a Welsh actor who spent 40 years on the stage before performing in British silent films, talkies and radio. He had an imposing and menacing stage presence and was cast as the villain in many films, notably Professor Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Heiress(1949).

The Heiress(1949). Directed by William Wyler. Camera: Leo Tover. With Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins, Vanessa Brown, Betty Linley, Ray Collins, Mona Freeman, Selena Royle, Paul Lees, Harry Antrim, Russ Conway, David Thursby, Donald Kerr, Harry Pipe, Una Mortished, Ralph Sanford, Lester Dorr, Franklyn Farnum, Douglas Spencer, Jack Chefe.

A wealthy widowed physician Austin Sloper, does not understand why his socially awkward daughter Catherine, does not have all the wonderful qualities of her beautiful mother, even with all her schooling and training. Austin, asks his sister, Lavinia, to come stay with him to help teach his daughter social graces.

That night at a party, Austin's sister, Elizabeth and her husband Jefferson, announce the engagement of their daughter Marian to Arthur Townsend. Arthur's handsome cousin Morris, asks Catherine to dance. Although, she has two left feet, Morris does not seem to notice and asks if he could see her again. Morris, makes frequent visits to her home the following week, her father seems surprised that someone has taken any interest in his daughter.

One night, Lavinia pretends to have a headache and when she leaves Morris and Catherine alone together, he proposes. Catherine accepts, despite the fact Morris is unemployed, uneducated and squandered away his inheritance in Paris.

Catherine, who can not wait, announces her engagement to Austin, who then calls for Morris' sister, Mrs. Montgomery to come visit. She confirms Austin's suspicions, that Morris is after Catherine's substantial inheritance. Austin, convinces Catherine to travel with him to Europe for six months, and Morris promises to wait for her.

While Austin and Catherine are in Europe, Morris visits Lavinia and settles in to a luxurious life style. Austin, soon realizes that Catherine still still in love with Morris, and they return to New York. Where Austin, tells his daughter that because she is homely and dull, her only attraction is her money, and the only thing she does well is her neat embroidery work. Shocked by her father's feelings for her, Catherine plans to elope with Morris that night, and tells Morris her father's threat of disinheriting her. Catherine, is packed and ready and waiting, but, Morris never shows up. Lavinia, who agrees that Morris is a fortune-hunter, feels that he at least offered Catherine a small chance at happiness.

A week later, Austin becomes ill and Catherine learns that Morris has moved to California. Catherine, is heartbroken, and she refuses to see her father when as he lays dying.

Years later, Morris returns to see Catherine. Although she refuses to see him at first, she changes her mind when she hears his voice. Morris, then asks for her forgiveness and tells her the reason he left was so she would not loose her inheritance. Morris, proposes again, saying that he needs her love, and Catherine encourages him to elope that night. Will they now marry and live happily ever after?

Fun Fact:

Montgomery Clift learned to play the piano for the scene where he sings, "The Joys of Love" to Olivia de Havilland.

Olivia De Havilland's, performance from a naive girl to a bitter woman is perfectly believable. Montgomery Clift, performance was just right for his part as a fortune hunter. It is hard to know which side to root for.. You might agree with Dr. Sloper's thoughts about Morris and only wants to protect his daughter. Morris could be a fortune hunter, or he could be a man who could make her happy. A wonderfully told story.