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This Is My Third – The Trouble With Harry

Alfred Hitchcock’s comedy/mystery The Trouble With Harry.
Harry didn’t seem to be a good man, but he did prove hard to keep down.

Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine) : I’ve never been to a home-made funeral before.
Capt. Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) : I have … it’s my third. All in one day…


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Juggling Wolves – Rear Window

Grace Kelly plays Lisa Carol Fremont (perhaps the archetypical Hitchcock blond) in Rear Window.
There is an unaffected world-weariness in her dialogue as she and Jimmy Stewart’s L.B. ‘Jeff’ Jeffries observe firstly the lonely woman they have nicknamed ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’, and then a young aspiring dancer they have nick-named ‘Miss Torso’ entertain some gentlemen callers.
Kelly was a good actor, but perhaps these lines were somewhat familiar to her experience as well.

Jeff: ‘Miss Lonelyhearts.’ Well, at least that’s something you’ll never have to worry about.
Lisa: Oh? You can see my apartment from here, all the way up on 63rd Street?
Jeff: No, not exactly…but we have a little apartment here that’s probably about as popular as yours. You remember of course ‘Miss Torso,’ the ballet dancer. She’s like a Queen Bee with her pick of the drones.
Lisa: I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job – Juggling Wolves.
Jeff: [watching ‘Miss Torso’ briefly kiss one of the men on the balcony] She picked the most prosperous-looking one.
Lisa: She’s not in love with him or any of them.
Jeff: How can you tell that from here?
Lisa: You said it resembled my apartment, didn’t you?


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Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Kiss Me Kate provides both homage to and playful subversion of William Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew by interpreting it by a Cole Porter musical.
I love Howard Keel and Ann Miller, Kathryn Grayson is wonderful and a young Bob Fosse gives us a glimpse of what will come.
The affectations of 3D staging aside. (Things get randomly flung directly at camera)
Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore (last seen in the movie marathon in a very different role in the Shawshank Redemption) provide threateningly comic relief who begin the wrap-up of proceedings with the timeless advice to Brush Up Your Shakespeare.


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Mystery Men – A Victory For All The Other Guys

Mystery Men came out before the great super-hero movie glut of the last ten to fifteen years.
So it doesn’t send up the genre so much as anticipate it.
It was an odd choice to make side characters from an independent alternate comic book into a mainstream movie; we’re still waiting for Flaming Carrot the Movie.

Anyway, here’s how three of the characters characterise the outcome of their struggle with evil to the waiting press:

The Shoveller:
I think we would all like this victory to go out to all the other guys, and I’m talking about the people in this city who are super good at their jobs but never get any credit. Like the lady in the DMV – that’s a rough job.
Invisible Boy:
To the people that remember jingles from tons of old commercials.
The Bowler:
And uh, uh, people that support local music and seek out independent film.
The Shoveller:
And the guy that drives the snow-plow.


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Ocean’s 11 1960

The original Ocean’s 11 starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop, with Angie Dickinson and Cesar Romero in featured roles is a caper movie that is a lot of set up and not much pay off.
But everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, so it’s easy watching.
Shirley MacLaine’s cameo is fun. “I don’t fit into your picture, huh … it so happens I’m very much in demand”


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Romeo + Juliet

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet represented a step forward in story-telling from Strictly Ballroom, with the power of the story stronger than the stylistic idiosyncracies that I think overwhelm the characters and narratives of his later movies.
The support actors are all superb. Especially Pete Postlethwaite and Miriam Margolyes.
And Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes are wonderful and well-matched as the titular characters, especially in light of how their respective careers have grown from these performances. DiCaprio’s skill is more easily discernible without the distraction of his teen idol reputation clouding perceptions.
Although, on the whole, Rosaline did well to hold out and give him the cold shoulder.


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Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat by Stubby Kaye

Guys And Dolls is an interesting musical. The third and fourth leads, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine are much stronger singers than first and second leads, Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons; yet Brando and Simmons are better actors which lends the whole piece more gravity than might be expected from such an unlikely story.
All four leads do not sing together, the two female leads don’t interact at all.
The closest thing to a closing number is led by a side-character Nicely-Nicely Johnson, played by Stubby Kaye.
In a revival meeting.
Giving testimony.
This is a bit different to our church.
Not that I want to cause any waves.
Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat.
The performance of Stubby Kaye’s career.