From Meet John Doe, 1941, Warner Brothers
Cicada Love Songs …
I heard a cicada the other day. I looked at the calendar. Yep. August. The romance writer in me wondered if that little fella was one of the first lotharios to eagerly scramble up from his subterranean abode–dressed all snappy and with his hair slicked back–ready to snag himself the best-lookin’ dang date in the neighborhood with his new mating song.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that–just as he was stretching his skinny legs and offering up his first “squee” of the season–he got chomped down by a passing bird or squirrel with a craving for 2014 cicada.
Now, that’s a bitter pill.
So is the end of summer. It’s coming, folks. Oh, yeah… it’s coming.
Summer Jaunts …
For our anniversary, the hub and I took a weekend trip to Inner Harbor, Baltimore to re-do our second date–a dinner cruise. The weather was perfect, the food was great and we took home a nice photo of the two of us taken just before boarding the Spirit of Baltimore.
When we got home, I juxtaposed that pic with the one taken 14 years ago. I’m happy to report that we’re still recognizable as the same couple. This indicates either we’ve aged rather well or we may be stuck in a rut. For example, it looks like I’m wearing the same outfit (I’m not–I wish I could still fit in that outfit) and my hair hasn’t changed (it really hasn’t). Hmmm.
Summer travels yet to come include…
- A day trip to the coal region of Central Pennsylvania to tour an old coal mine and learn about the life of miners back in the days of the Molly Maguires. (Whoot!) Um, yeah. See, this is where I do get a little weird. I love this stuff. It’s research for one of my historical romances-in-progress. (Whoot!)
- An overnight stay at the historic New Yorker hotel in my favorite city on the planet. I’ll be strolling the streets of Manhattan where my 1920s romantic mystery series is set. (It Had to Be You, April 2014, Carina Press). Can’t wait!
What about you? Do you have any summer plans still on the calendar?
Classic Movie Junkie…
Yet another treat to look forward to in August is TCM’s Summer Under the Stars – a month of amazing classic films. Many titles on tap have already been featured on this blog – The Thin Man, His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid… Check out the TCM schedule.
Here are a few others to watch for.
Tuesday August 5
5:45 pm Meet John Doe (1941) Comedy/Drama/Romance. TCM. A reporter’s fake story for her soon-to-be-defunct column saves her career, turns a homeless man into a national hero for the working class and changes them both into pawns of a powerful politician. Will they sell out? Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck.
Why? Feeling a little 21st century world weary? Need a revitalizing dose of some off-season Frank Capra-like optimism? There are some who rank the lesser-known Meet John Doe right up with Capra’s crowning achievement, It’s a Wonderful Life. Decide for yourself. (Keep a tissue handy for a fist-pump-worthy final scene Seriously!)
Sunday August 10
12:30 pm Twentieth Century (1934) Screwball Comedy. TCM. An express train run from Chicago to New York sets the stage for an egotistical, down-on-his-luck Broadway director to pull every underhanded trick in the book to woo back the estranged high-strung star he created. John Barrymore, Carole Lombard.
Why? A love-hate-love story at 85 decibels. The one-liners and zingers in this early screwball classic streak by so fast, you’ll need to watch it a dozen times to catch them all. Barrymore’s over-the-top performance as a megalomaniacal Broadway director elevates melodrama to art and Lombard serves back as good as she gets.
6:00 pm Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) Screwball Comedy/Romance. TCM. When a three-year wed couple discovers their marriage isn’t legal, romantic misunderstandings ensue. Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery.
Why? This fun, often-overlooked screwball comedy is worth a look-see. It was Carole Lombard’s second to last film before her tragic death in an airplane accident in 1942. It was also Alfred Hitchcock’s only foray into romantic comedy. (Done reluctantly at Lombard’s request. Remember his legendary weakness for beautiful blondes?) Watch for Hitch’s signature cameo.
Friday August 15
10:00 pm Three Days of the Condor (1975) Mystery/Thriller. TCM. A mild-mannered CIA researcher finds himself out in the cold and running for his life when he accidentally survives the execution of everyone on his research team. Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max Von Sydow.
Why? This smart 70s conspiracy spy thriller was made in the wake of the Watergate scandal and still resonates today. The opening scenes are riveting, Redford owns the screen (oh, ladies, yes he does), and Max Von Sydow is excellent as the bloodless yet creepily personable assassin Joubert.
Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.
This month’s Amazon Prime Picks – Meet John Doe and Three Days of the Condor
Meet John Doe – By film screenshots (Frank Capra Prod. / Warner Bros.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Twentieth Century – By Columbia Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Lombard – Paramount Studios (Ebay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Mr. and Mrs. Smith – By Trailer screenshot (Mr. & Mrs. Smith trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.