From The Ghost and Mrs. Muir 1947, 20th Century Fox
After the Equinox
Happy belated autumn equinox!
Autumn has always been a mixed bag for me. A sense of melancholy sets in as the season changes. Why? I don’t know, but I also remember the excitement that starting a new school year used to bring. So, I tap into those memories to help counteract my autumn blues. Football games, apple cider, farm shows, favorite sweaters and Halloween. Bring it on!
Does the change of seasons affect your mood?
Most years, the hub and I spend some time in Montauk, Long Island, a tradition that started when I talked him into going with me to do some research for the 1920s romantic mystery I was writing—It Had to Be You. Montauk has some rich 1920s bootlegging history.
This year, on our way to our Long Island retreat, we spent a night in Manhattan at the New Yorker. Wonderful midtown location.
During our short stay, we visited the World Trade Center Museum, Times Square and Top of the Rock, but my favorite picture from this visit was the sight that greeted me when I stepped out from the revolving door of our hotel. Directly across the street was a building with space to lease. Beautifully carved into its face was one word: BICKFORD’S.
For those who haven’t read It Had to Be You (and I know you’re out there, you one person, you), Bickford’s was a popular national chain of cafeterias that started in the 1920s. It was a part of the New York City landscape for much of the 20th century. It was talked about by Andy Warhol and it appeared in works by William Styron and Woody Allen. It also happens to be a favorite hangout for my hero and heroine as they tool around 1920s Manhattan solving mysteries. ;)
So, here it is. The view from the sidewalk outside our hotel. Look closely at the top face of the building. I love coincidences. Don’t you? Any interesting coincidences happen to you lately?
Classic Movie Junkie
In nosing through TCM’s October schedule, I saw no shortage of classic favorites I’d happily recommend, but I decided that, for this post, I’d look for some options that were new to me – movies that I’ve always meant to see but never got around to.
I picked six that caught my eye. They either had interesting reviews, stars I couldn’t resist or were considered classics. But I hadn’t seen a one. Of the six, here are three picks. Happy post-equinox viewing!
Thursday, October 9
9:45 pm The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1941) Fantasy/Romance. TCM. A headstrong young widow moves into a seaside cottage haunted by the ghost of a rugged sea captain. Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Natalie Wood.
Why? Five-star romantic gem. Gene Tierney is perfectly cast as the proper but willful widow Lucy Muir in this sweet, funny, wistful love story that transcends time. Rex Harrison excels as the brash ghostly sea captain who first challenges her and then slowly falls in love with her. But he’s a spirit and she’s young and alive. Will he set her free? Highly recommended.
Wednesday, October 15
6:30 pm Wife vs. Secretary (1936) Comedy TCM. The wife of an affluent magazine publisher begins to believe that the rumors about her husband and his lovely secretary are true. Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, James Stewart.
Why? Star power. It’s impossible not to recognize shades of Nora Charles in Myrna Loy’s portrayal of the sophisticated wife. Her glib other half is portrayed handily by Clark Gable, but it’s Jean Harlow—playing against type as Gable’s over-competent secretary—who’s the most fun to watch. Harlow, a comedienne at heart, had already built a stunning movie career by playing platinum blond vamps-with-a-wink. She was ready to show audiences what else she had.
Also watch for a young Jimmy Stewart in one of his earliest film roles as Harlow’s adorable, long-suffering boyfriend. You’ll want to take him home.
Sunday, October 19
8:00 pm Marnie (1964) Psychological Suspense TCM. A wealthy businessman becomes obsessed with curing a beautiful compulsive thief by uncovering the tragic secrets in her past. Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren. (Director – Alfred Hitchcock)
Why? Riveting, flawed, complex characters. Connery’s suave brand of animal magnetism has never been more potent (or disturbing) and Hedren’s thinly-controlled ice princess performance never goes over the top. Critics seem to be split on whether Marnie is one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces or if it missed its mark entirely. Judge for yourself. My eyes never left the screen.
Content warning: Adult themes–no foul language or nudity, mild by today’s standards, certainly–but it’s about, among other things, predatory behavior and moral ambiguity. Not for kids.
Times listed are ET. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.
Next time… Halloween classics!
Until then, have a great week.
Ghost and Mrs. Muir Trailer – [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Harlow – By Trailer screenshot (Libeled Lady trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Marnie – By Trailer screenshot (Marnie trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Pumpkins and NYC- Delynn Royer