Bill Chandler: I thought that was rather clever of me.
Connie Allenbury: Yes, I thought you thought so.
From Libeled Lady, 1936, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
2017 and Counting…
So far in this brave new year of 2017, the weather has been warmer than normal, and the political climate has been blowing the top off the thermometer.
I took a bus trip to Washington D.C. the other weekend with a bunch of radical fringe types—you know, teachers, mothers, social workers, nurses—and ran into a huge crowd (by which I mean, an actual crowd of actual people). Several wore pink hats.
I saw a lot of signs that day. Many were clever, many were funny, many were inspiring, and some were, yes, pissed. My favorite signs, though, were the lawn signs we saw liberally sprinkled throughout the residential neighborhoods along East Capitol Street during our 30 minute walk from our bus at RFK Stadium up Capitol Hill.
Each sign bore a different quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. We saw one after another after another of these signs.
Maybe there’s hope for us yet.
Lighten up your February…
The days are too short, the nights too long, and the news just keeps pissing everyone off. Time to lighten up and refill the well.
Here are seven—count’em, seven!—classic comedy and romance picks from TCM’s awesome (“31 Days of Oscar”) February schedule. If these lighthearted gems from yesteryear don’t refresh your winter-weary spirit, I don’t know what will.
Saturday, February 4
8:00 pm Eastern Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Comedy/Romance. A free-spirited party girl and an unemployed writer find love in 1960s Manhattan. Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard.
Why? Hepburn, of course. And that Little Black Dress. 🙂
Author Truman Capote may not have been thrilled when Audrey Hepburn was cast as quirky commitment-phobe Holly Golightly, but today it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role.
From the early-1960s Manhattan setting to the Academy-Award winning Henry Mancini soundtrack (“Moon River”), this flawed but fanciful and touching romantic tale of two lost souls who find love in the big city is well worth a watch.
Friday, February 10
8:15 am Eastern The Goodbye Girl (1977) Comedy/ Romance. An oft-jilted Broadway dancer is chagrined to learn that her latest fiancé hasn’t just left her broken-hearted, he’s sublet their apartment to an out of town actor. Marsha Mason, Richard Dreyfus.
Why? How many times can the human heart be broken and put back together again? You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh again. Dreyfus (Best Actor), Marsha Mason, and Quinn Cummings soar in this funny, heartwarming, delightful Neil Simon gem.
Tuesday, February 14th
8:00 pm Eastern The Lady Eve (1941) Screwball Romantic Comedy. A beautiful cardsharp sets out to con the shy young heir to a beer fortune only to fall for him instead. Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda.
Why? Sexy, funny, sweet. Stanwyck is at her sassy best as jaded con girl Jean Harrington out to seduce and bilk the soft-spoken naive heir to a beer fortune. If you like some heart with your screwball romantic comedy, don’t miss this.
Tuesday, February 14
9:45 pm Eastern Libeled Lady (1936) Screwball Comedy/Romance. A wily newspaper editor hires a glib ladies’ man to woo an heiress who has sued his paper for libel. William Powell, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy.
Why? Four mega-stars of the 1930s knock it out of the park in this entertaining screwball comedy with a dash of romance.
Powell and Loy made 14 films together, six of which were part of the super popular Thin Man series. Libeled Lady is the fourth of their non-Thin Man pairings and it ranks with their best.
Jean Harlow’s stellar comedic skills are on display as Spencer Tracy’s cheeky, long-suffering fiancée. She even steals a scene or two from (then-boyfriend) Powell. Tragically, Harlow would appear in only two more feature films before her untimely death in 1937.
Libeled Lady was nominated for Best Picture. It lost to another Powell-Loy film, The Great Ziegfeld.
Monday, February 20
4:00 pm Eastern The Pink Panther (1963) Comedy/Caper. A bumbling police inspector travels to a posh Switzerland ski resort to catch an international jewel thief. Peter Sellers, David Niven.
Why? Sign up for some silly. Watch this first Pink Panther movie with the knowledge that it was originally conceived as a comedic jewel heist caper film for David Niven, not Peter Sellers. Sellers wasn’t even the first pick for the supporting role of Inspector Clouseau, but he got the part., and—ten sequels and spin-offs later—the rest is history. Comedy gold.
Wednesday, February 22
8:00 pm Eastern Roman Holiday (1953) Romantic Comedy. A runaway European princess falls in love with an American reporter who is being paid to write an exposé on her. Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert.
Why? Ask a group of twenty women over thirty to name their favorite classic movie, and there’s a good chance more than one will choose Roman Holiday. This delightful 5-star romantic romp through the Eternal City launched Audrey Hepburn’s film career and won her not only an Oscar for Best Actress but a special place in movie-goers hearts that lives on today.
Friday, February 24
8:00 pm Some Like it Hot (1959) Screwball Comedy. Two womanizing musicians hide from the mob by masquerading as women to join an all-girls band. Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis.
Why? Take three A-list stars, sprinkle in a passel of exemplary support players, and add a few walk-ons that shine. What do you get? One of the best cast comedies ever.
From her iconic comic entrance to the finish, Monroe plays big-hearted, maybe-not-so-dumb-blond singer Sugar Kane to perfection. Jack Lemmon’s physical comedy has never been better—the scene with the maracas is classic—and Tony Curtis out-does his pretty self with a spot-on impersonation of Cary Grant in his attempts to woo sweet Sugar.
Some Like it Hot garnered six Academy Award nominations and is ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Funniest Movies of all Time.” A pièce de résistance not to be missed.
And that’s a wrap! How did I do?
What are your favorite go-to movies when your spirits need a lift?
Have a great February!
Some Like It Hot – Screen capture from a public domain film trailer (Some Like It Hot trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimeia Commons
Washington DC Lawn Sign – Delynn Royer
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – By Trailer screenshot (Breakfast at Tiffany’s trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Barbara Stanwyck – By Trailer screenshot (The Lady Eve trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Libeled Lady Poster – By Employee(s) of MGM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Roman Holiday – By Trailer screenshot (Roman Holiday trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Peter Sellers – By Chicago Sun Times / United Artists studios (Historical Images on eBay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Marilyn Monroe – Cropped screen capture from a public domain film trailer (Some Like It Hot trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons