Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Moon Over Miami (1941), or in my case, Moon Over Ameche



Kay and Barbara Latimer (Grable and Landis) are working at a singing drive-in in Texas, but they quickly forget work when the mailman pulls up. Apparently the sisters have been waiting for a letter telling them how much their Aunt Susan (Charlotte Greenwood) has inherited from a dead relative. The three ecstatically read that they’re now $55,000 richer! But then they read on and realize after taxes and other fees, they’re left with just $4,000. The girls were counting on that money to allow them to quit their awful jobs and live in luxury, but once they get this news, Kay insists they go for her back-up plan: they’ll use the $4,000 to go to Miami and pass her off as a wealthy woman so she can snare a millionaire, while Barbara poses as her secretary and Aunt Susan her maid.


The first night they’re in Miami, one of the hotel’s waiters, Jack (Jack Haley), brings the trio a bottle of champagne. It seems that the rich Mr. Jeff Bolton (Bob Cummings) is throwing a party and he’s giving champagne to all the hotel guests. The second Kay hears this, she calls Mr. Bolton, but not to thank him for the bottle—instead, she chastises him for gifting her with flat champagne! It’s an effective tactic, and within a minute, Jeff comes over and invites Kay to join his party. The girls are thrilled, but there’s one Latimer girl in particular who’s already getting stars in her eyes over Jeff.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Top Ten: Billy Wilder

I absolutely adore Billy Wilder. For me, he is right there behind Alfred Hitchcock. The man totally understands the crazy behavior of humans, therefore he gets comedy and drama like no one else. I admit I haven’t seen all of Wilder’s films, but I’ve seen a good portion of them, so I like to think that I can rightly do a Top Ten list. I also decided that I shouldn’t leave out the films that Mr. Wilder wrote screenplays for before he started directing on his own. His writing was integral to his filmmaking, so I feel it’s only fair. Plus, Wilder himself said he was always a writer first.


10. The Seven Year Itch (1955) 
The first time I saw this, I only cared about seeing Marilyn Monroe. I was just starting to get to know her work, so I could’ve cared less about the director, the fact that it had been a Broadway show, who Tom Ewell was…in short, I had some pretty big blinders on. In spite of that, I found the film to be pretty funny, especially the moments when Ewell imagines all sorts of crazy things, be it his past “lovers,” Marilyn spreading horrific rumors about him, or Marilyn falling in love with him as he suavely plays the piano. Those parts are still my favorites in the movie, mainly because Ewell’s pathetic depictions of a Charles Boyer/Cary Grant type are great. Also, I find Marilyn to be a pure delight. Sure, it’s not Wilder’s greatest—it’s not even Marilyn’s greatest. But it’s still fun to watch on a summer night every once in a while.