Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Best Movie I've Seen This Week!


I know that this blog can often be mistaken for "DVD News & Reviews". Well, enjoying DVDs happens to be a big part of my life. So there! I get a lot of pleasure from watching and thinking about my stand-up heroes, classic sitcoms, and old black and white comedy movies from years gone by. AND... I only tell you about the good ones! AND... this week I've seen a brilliant old movie - "The Good Fairy" from 1935.

I'm a fan of Preston Sturges, and I was brought to this DVD by his screenplay credit, not knowing if that would be enough to make this a movie I was going to enjoy. GOOD NEWS! This movie was a real joy from start to finish.

From the outset the humour was quite subtle, and the sophistocated dialogue sounded very modern. Clearly, although this Sturges script isn't served by Sturges direction, this is still a Preston Sturges movie. And the script is backed up by sypathetic direction from William Wyler and the performances of the lead players. In particular Margaret Sullavan is fresh and funny as the fish-out-of-water naive young girl leaving her orphanage to join the outside world, determined to do a good deed every day... to be a Good Fairy to somebody.

Unfortunately the lies she feels she has to tell, and the resulting problems she's willing to face, lead her into digging a deeper and deeper hole for herself, and into dragging other characters into the hole with her. Those other characters are the Sturges eccentrics we know from his acclaimed movies of later years. The scenes with Frank Morgan and Reginald Owen shouting at each other with Sullavan between them are fabulous. Herbert Marshall is also good, but he or his character can not match the same level of lunacy.

Now I've seen this, I just hope it won't be long before I can get to see "Easy Living", the next comedy that Preston Sturges was able to write and exert the same level of influence over.

AND WHEN I DO... You'll be the FIRST to know... as long as it's any good!

You know... Perhaps I should put on evening classes where I can show old comedy movies and talk about them. That would be easy money. I'll have to think about that.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Heat is On... And so is a DVD.


Oh... It's hot!

For the second day in a row the temperature is in the 30's. For ten minutes yesterday I had to go down to ground level - I needed to pop round to Tesco Express for essentials... like ice cream - and I found breathing started to involve conscious effort.

Luckily - with essentials in the fridge - I now have the option of spending today laying on the bed in my second floor flat with the windows open facilitating a pleasant through-breeze. Even more luckily, I always have my pile of un-read books and un-watched DVDs.

Proper telly is not an option today. I DO NOT want to catch the least coverage of or reference to yesterday's England defeat at the World Cup. I accept England's limitations at football, but there's no need to dwell on these things.

I'm even too lazy to be selective from my pile of new DVDs, so since Wayne Rooney was sent off yesterday it's been a case of "last in first out" - the most recent arrival gets to go in the slot of my 14 inch TV DVD combo.

What was it? "Stalag 17 - Special Collector's Edition"...

Oh... I've enjoyed it! I'm a real fan of Billy Wilder, especially his comedies. William Holden is also an actor I like. There are also some great comic sequences with Harvey Lembeck and Richard Strauss. PLUS a really satisfying ending. That's what I call an enjoyable movie!

But don't forget!... THIS is a SPECIAL COLLECTOR'S EDITION!... I've been able to lie back and also enjoy two documentaries about the movie, and then watch the movie again with commentary by three old guys who were involved in the movie - two actors and the author of the original play.

I love DVD commentaries!!! This time it was a chance to hear two hours of anecdotes about Billy Wilder and how he made this movie. PLUS lots of discussion of when every else involved in the movie passed away. Old guys seem to be interested in stuff like that.

As I write this, that DVD is now back in its box and I've got another DVD in the slot. This time its "Sabrina" - UNFORTUNATELY NOT A SPECIAL COLLECTOR'S EDITION - which is actually the next movie that Billy Wilder made. I'm into continuity!

What comes after "Sabrina"?... "The Seven Year Itch". I haven't bought the DVD of that... BUT... it WAS on BBC2 last week and I recorded it onto DVD myself.

So... Until the temperature drops, my Billy Wilder season looks set to continue.