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Showing posts from September, 2017

Vera & Gene & Vera & Fred

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Vera-Ellen was a gem. A gorgeous woman with some of the fastest feet around, Vera-Ellen Westmeier Rohe made only fourteen films, but you can bet that she made an impression in each and every one of them. Despite this, when it comes to discussing the great film dancers, Ann Miller and Cyd Charisse are more likely to be mentioned than Vera-Ellen. In terms of her onscreen personality, her acting, and her talent, I would say that Vera was a mixture of Miller and Charisse. She was also one of five women to have danced with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, who are arguably the biggest legends in movie musical history.

When talking about her work with Astaire and Kelly, Charisse said "it's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both delicious." With that thought in mind, I'm not setting out to see who was the better partner for Vera. I would rather focus on this overlooked actress and the differences in her partnerships with the Marlon Brando and the Cary Grant of…

A Slight Look at the Enormous Fun of Roxanne (1987)

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I adore romantic comedies. Aside from musicals, I think it's my favorite genre. That being said, I don't fall in love with them as easily as the protagonists do with each other. If a romantic comedy is going to win me over, it has to actually embody romance and comedy -- it needs to have genuine heart, laugh-out-loud hilarity, and extraordinary chemistry between its leads. The best rom-coms came from classic Hollywood, without a doubt, but I do have a weakness for more modern ones. I don't know how to explain it. If they're bad, they come off as incredibly cheesy and I hate them for wasting my time. If they're good, I'm theirs, hook, line, and sinker.

One such film is 1987's superb Roxanne, an adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. Martin is C.D. "Charlie" Bales, the big-nosed chief of the local volunteer fire department in the small town of Nelson. Hannah is Roxanne, a graduate student staying in Nelson as she f…

The Pink Panther (1963): An Appreciation

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When I first saw The Pink Panther, it was the 2006 Steve Martin version, which I'll admit is still kind of a guilty pleasure even though it has practically nothing to do with the 1963 film. When I saw the original, I was... underwhelmed. The second viewing, however, proved to be more successful. My mom would comment about how Peter Sellers did comedy that hardly anyone does anymore and because of that, I forced myself to pay more attention. By my third screening, it was clear to me: I love The Pink Panther and it deserves every bit of praise it can get.
If you've never seen the movie but have grown up with an awareness of pop culture icons Inspector Clouseau and the cute, mischievous cartoon feline, you might be surprised with the One that Started it All. For one thing, Clouseau isn't the leading man -- suave and brilliant David Niven is. The Pink Panther isn't just one screwball moment after another, either. There is romance, gorgeous scenery and sets, marvelous cost…