Category Archives: Romance

Mr & Mrs Smith

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Harry E. Edington
Written by Norman Krasna
Starring Carole Lombard
Robert Montgomery
Gene Raymond
Music by Edward Ward
Cinematography Harry Stradling Sr.
Editing by William Hamilton
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date January 31, 1941 (US)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English

To those who thought that this would be a review of the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie films from a few years ago…sorry. This is the Alfred Hitchcock screwball comedy from the 1940s starring Carole Lombard. All I want to say about the Pitt/Jolie film at this stage is that it really dumbfounds me how Jolie can be nominated so often as being the most beautiful woman in the world when so clearly she is not. She looks like John Voight in drag, which ain’t a very sexy thought. She’s gross. It makes me wonder who decides these things anyway? Is it the flamboyant gossip columnists who so often promote this myth or have women come to the conclusion that because Pitt is so hot that therefore Jolie is hot too? It’s just astounding and I’ve wasted to much space talking about this as it is.

Of course there is a reason I have spent so much space talking about crap, because this film is not much to write about at all. I know that a lot of Hitchcock’s films are humourous, like Psycho, but Mr & Mrs Smith is the only comedy that he ever made and it’s awful. It’s almost impossible to believe that the person who had just directed Rebecca and Foreign Correspondent and had not too long ago made The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes could also make something this horrid.

The film is only an hour and a half long but it drags on forever. The dialogue is not witty but stupid and Carole Lombard is annoying. Apparently she was close friends with Hitchcock and wanted to make a film with him, and so is the person who roped him into making this mess. I think it shows that Hitchcock’s heart was really not into this film at all. The movie is extremely boring.

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The Quiet Man

Directed by John Ford
Produced by Merian C. Cooper
Written by Maurice Walsh, Frank S. Nugent & Richard Llewellyn
Starring John Wayne
Maureen O’Hara
Barry Fitzgerald
Ward Bond
Victor McLaglen
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography Winton C. Hoch & Archie Stout
Editing by Jack Murray
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date 21 July 1952 (UK)
August (Venice Film Fest.)
14 August (US)
Running time 129 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Quiet Man is an interesting film that I watched this afternoon. I know that you probably think that it is inappropriate to watch a film about Ireland on Australia Day, yet there is some reference to Australia, which I will get to later. As an aside if you ever wondered where The Simpsons and Family Guy ever got those stereotypes about the Irish being violent drunks, it is this film!!! Then again I wish that modern romantic movies featured John Wayne, a country full of drunks and a huge brawl to top it all off. This film, expertly directed by John Ford, paints the Irish as a race of foul tempered drunks who have some weird moral code that involves beating the crap out of someone and then befriending them.

John Wayne stars in this film as the Irish American Sean Thornton, who has returned to the motherland to return to his ancestral home. Wayne of course only ever played the same character throughout his career, so if you have seen John Wayne once you know what to expect. Here he falls in love with Maureen O’ Hara, who plays the flame haired and foul tempered Mary Kate Daniher. Theirs is a pretty conventional romance; they meet, fall in love, she tries to punch his lights out, they marry, he tries to leave him, he abducts her, she tries to punch his lights out again, she dumps him because she won’t punch her brother’s lights out, he abducts her again, then he beats the crap out of her brother. In the end everyone gets drunk and are happy.
The film is literally filled with lots of drinking and fighting. There are a couple of references to Australia in the film. Thornton’s grandfather was supposedly transported to Australia as a convict where he died, while the traditional Australian bush ballad Wild Colonial Boy is sung a number of time, albeit with the name of the protagonist changed from Jack Doolan to Jack Dugan.
This is a very long film and while I did enjoy it I must say that a couple of times throughout I lost my concentration because Priscilla insisted on interrupting me. Grrrr! The colour of the film looks lovely as is the green lush landscape of Ireland, which we see throughout the film.

The film was nominated for a number of Academy Awards in 1953 including best picture. John Ford also won an Oscar for best director, while Victor McLaglen won one for best supporting actor as Mary Kate’s bully brother Will.


Sabrina

Directed by Billy Wilder
Produced by Billy Wilder
Written by Samuel A. Taylor (play Sabrina Fair)
Billy Wilder & Ernest Lehman
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Audrey Hepburn
William Holden
Music by Frederick Hollander
Cinematography Charles Lang
Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date September 9, 1954 London premiere
Running time 113 min

 

I don’t usually watch too many romantic comedies. You many think that this is a little prejudiced of me but I find that most modern romantic movies are riddled with clichés. Usually boy meets girl, they discover that they have nothing in common, they fight and bicker and come to hate each other but in the end they find that opposites attract and they find true love. The End. It’s been done so many times in the recent past and it has become stale and boring.

I am happy to report that Sabrina was a lot better film than I expected. The performances from Hepburn and Bogart are terrific whilst Holden plays a great comic relief part. The film is the classic Cinderella story where a girl from the working class background meets her Prince Charming but there are a lot of twists and turns that Billy Wilder has put in to make this film a unique experience. Whilst Hepburn plays the central character in the film it is Bogart whose performance is the best, as we see his growth from a work obsessed corporate suit into a romantic fool after falling in love with Sabrina. He was of course known for his tough guy roles so it is quite refreshing to see him play someone who ends up being so fragile and human. While this film helped to make Hepburn a star and a sophisticated sex symbol of the 1950s it is Bogart’s performance that makes this film so enjoyable.