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Showing posts from June, 2017

Peter O'Toole as Simon Dermott.

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How to Steal a Million (1966) may be one Audrey Hepburn's most underrated films. This is crazy to me. Directed by William Wyler, located in Paris, and starring a terrific cast that includes Peter O'Toole, Eli Wallach, Hugh Griffith, and Charles Boyer, How to Steal a Million is a marvelous romantic comedy. Who doesn't want to see Audrey traipsing around Paris in gorgeous Givenchy with gorgeous O'Toole by her side?
When I first saw this movie, I figured I knew what I was in for. There was one factor I wasn't counting on, though: the leading man. Peter O'Toole wasn't a new name to me. I mean, when you became a classic film devotee, one of the first ones you become aware of is Lawrence of Arabia. However, I had never seen O'Toole in action before and let me tell you something... How to Steal a Million is a great introduction to him. Did it give him a chance to show off his versatile range, his dramatic talent, his monumental sensitivity? Well, not quite. Bu…

The Sensuality of The Pirate (1948)

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The Pirate may not have been appreciated when it was first released, but over the years, the film has become vindicated in its blend of lush production values, delightfully madcap performances from Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, and a charming Cole Porter score. The Pirate isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, though. It's much too stylized and the characterizations are sure to be called "over-the-top." However, there is a subtlety that works with the louder moments to convey a sensuality that seems to go unnoticed. You might be thinking What are you talking about? This is the movie that gave us Gene Kelly in hot pants! Well, yeah. But there are other things bubbling beneath the surface that make The Pirate a film about sex.
It begins with Manuela (Garland) breathlessly talking about infamous pirate Macoco as she wonders where he is and what he is doing. Right away we see that Manuela longs for travel and romance, things that are denied her when her Aunt Inez (G…

Garland and Goulet sing about... Gay Purr-ee (1962)

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Gay Purr-ee has to be one of the weirdest creations I've ever come across. It feels like an honest-to-goodness fever dream. There will be times throughout this review that you'll think "Surely she's making this up" or "Am I hallucinating all of this?" Yet it's all true. This movie exists and it is fascinating. Starring the voices of Judy Garland and Robert Goulet, Gay Purr-ee was Judy's only animated film and Goulet's big screen debut. You can also hear the talents of Hermione Gingold, Red Buttons, Paul Frees, Morey Amsterdam as the narrator, and Mel Blanc, the man behind so many iconic Warner Bros. cartoon characters.

Gay Purr-ee isn't a Warner Bros. cartoon, however. Well, it is but it isn't. It was produced and created by the United Productions of America, or UPA, and released through Warners. UPA was a giant in animation, but its more iconic competitors such as Disney and Warners' Looney Tunes came to dwarf the company. Formed…