Comedy Film Festival 2012

“Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House”

Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas in "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" (RKO, 1948)

Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas in “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (RKO, 1948)

“Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (RKO, 1948). Building a home never is and never was easy. In this great comedy, Mr. Blandings (expertly played by Cary Grant), his wife (played by the wonderful Myrna Loy), and their two daughters are living in a cramped Manhattan apartment. After a visit to Connecticut, they decide to buy a charming yet decrepid estate. Nothing goes right from start to finsh, not to mention extra challenges thrown at Mr. Blandings from his employer to suspicions of inpropriety with his wife and their lawyer (played by Melvyn Douglas). A really fun movie and an interesting treatise on the so-called “American Dream.” Based on the novel by Eric Hodgins. Written for the screen by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank. Directed by H.C. Potter. “It’s a conspiracy, I tell you–against every boy and girl who were ever in love.”

Comedy Film Festival 2012

“Arsenic and Old Lace”

Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and Cary Grant in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (Warner Bros., 1944)

Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and Cary Grant in “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Warner Bros., 1944)

“Arsenic and Old Lace” (Warner Bros., 1944). In this macabre comedy, two spinster sisters (played by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair) take their compassion for sad, lonely old men a bit too far. When their nice, newlywed nephew (played by Cary Grant) and his insane, murderous brother (played by Raymond Massey) find out what’s been going on, all sorts of crazy happens. Laughs are provided by Cary Grant and most of the supporting cast; scares are provided by the creepy Raymond Massey and the always great Peter Lorre. Written by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein. Based on the stage play by Joseph Kellering. Directed by Frank Capra. “We never dreamed you’d peek.”

Comedy Film Festival 2012

“The Awful Truth”

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in "The Awful Truth" (Columbia, 1937)

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in “The Awful Truth” (Columbia, 1937)

“The Awful Truth” (Columbia, 1937). Cary Grant and Irene Dunne play Jerry and Lucy Warriner, an erudite married couple that has decided to call it quits. After the judge gives them a 90-day waiting period until their divorce is final, the couple does all that they can to wreck each other’s potential romantic options. Along the way, they realize an awful truth–that maybe they’re really in love with each other after all. A classic screwball comedy with terrific performances by Grant and Dunne. Also stars Ralph Bellamy. Written by Viña Delmar. Based on the play by Arthur Richman. Directed by Leo McCarey. “And if you get bored in Oklahoma City, you can always go over to Tulsa for the weekend!”

Thoughts on Movies

“North by Northwest”

Cary Grant in "North by Northwest" (MGM, 1959)

Cary Grant in “North by Northwest” (MGM, 1959)

Summer movie going has been made more fun this year thanks to the Cinemark Classic Series. Every Wednesday, Cinemark has screened a digitally restored classic film. The Cinemark folks picked a variety of films to appeal to a wide audience (I personally stayed away from the horror flicks…). Overall, it’s been a great way to revisit old favorites and to see them beautifully presented on the big screen. Thanks and well done, Cinemark (and please do this again next year)!

This week’s film was the terrific mystery/thriller “North by Northwest” (MGM, 1959). Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a New York advertising executive who has to fight to stay alive after a group of deadly international thieves mistake him for a government spy. Seeing the classic crop duster chase on the big screen was worth the price of admission alone. Definitely one of the all time greats. Also stars Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau. Written by Ernest Lehman. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. “Apparently, the only performance that will satisfy you is when I play dead.”