Feature Film Friday: Under Capricorn (1949)

I know I haven’t done a Feature Film Friday post in like forever, the only excuse I can offer is that I’ve been ridiculously busy between school, blogging, and other obligations. Anyways, the movie I chose for this Friday is a pretty obscure film but features an excellent cast.

Ingrid Bergman – one of my favorite actresses, and Joseph Cotton – most definitely one of my favorites star in Under Capricorn, a film by Alfred Hitchcock. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Helen Simpson about a young man named Charles Adare who arrives in the Australian colonies during the 1830′s. Hoping to make his fortune he befriends local wealthy business man Sam Flusky – Flusky is married to Lady Henrietta, who once knew Charles by way of her friendship with his sister. Flusky hopes that Charles will help cheer up his wife, a depressed alcoholic whose state of being leaves her with a non-existent relationship with her husband.

*Spoilers Ahead* However, Charles has feelings for Lady Henrietta and hopes to take her with him when he leaves Australia. But despite his outward appearance, Sam Flusky is still very much in love with his wife, and his wife with him. We learn that Flusky, a former convict, came to Australia to serve a sentence for which Lady Henrietta was really guilty for. And that her love for him, made her follow him to the colony – whose environment took a severe toll on her. Flusky accidentally shoots Charles, and results in a situation that could leave Lady Henrietta or Sam hanging from the gallows.

The film was not initially received well by audiences. Accommodated to thrillers from Hitchcock, they were not so pleased with the more dramatic character driven storyline. Also, it is suggested that the film did not fare as well as it could have because the illicit relationship and subsequent pregnancy of Ingrid Bergman with director Roberto Rossellini became public knowledge at the time of the films release. Either way, it’s definitely a film worth seeing at least once in one’s lifetime. Bergman gives an excellent performance as Lady Henrietta, and Joseph Cotton plays the mysterious and secretive Flusky wonderfully. My only issue with the film is that as a viewer, I’m left wanting so much more. Like I would love to see some form of happiness between Lady Henrietta and Sam – like a goodbye token, a promise that things began to look up for these two after so much suffering. It’s not a prolific film, but it’s an enjoyable way to kill a Friday evening.

My favorite scene, and don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie yet ‘cuz it will ruin it for you, is when Sam finds out that Milly (the housemaid) has been poisoning Lady Henrietta in a bid for his affections. I love how Sam immediately wants Lady Henrietta to know that he had nothing to do with her maids wicked schemes, and not in a way that suggests he wants to remove himself from the situation, but in a way that just shows how her opinion of him is so important to Sam.

Also, according to IMDb, Under Capricorn is considered amongst French critics as one of Hitchcock’s best films. And the French are a pretty reputable source, after all they make croissants, and baguettes, and macaroons. So there, go watch it! ;)

Feature Film Friday: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

I’m a really big fan of most, if not all, of Tennessee Williams’ plays- but I love Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for it’s starring cast and the fact that it gives me the excuse to yell “Mendacity!” all the time. In case you haven’t seen this movie, mendacity – being the tendency to lie, or an instance of falsehood – is the buzzword for this movie, and used most famously by Big Daddy in reference to his own family and friends. And while I might not be the brash, large, plantation owner- I find Big Daddy’s favorite phrase to rather useful in everyday life, see how I use it:

College Representative: “Sorry, you owe $3,000 in tuition”

Me: “Mendacity!”

Cashier at the grocery store: “Sorry, that coupon has expired- you can’t use it”

Me: “Mendacity!”

Doctor: “You’ve gained weight. Maybe you should think about going on a diet?”

Me: “MENDACITY!”

My mom: “You look just like Rachel Weisz”

Me: “Men- er- SURE!”

See how useful mendacity can be? Now, if you haven’t seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, you should- that way you can learn how to use mendacity in your everyday conversations too!

Memorable Cat on a Hot Tin Roof quote:

“What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it, Brick? Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?”

- Big Daddy

Feature Film Friday: Runaway Jury (2003)

I absolutely love thriller movies, especially if they involve journalism, the courts, and rogue justice seekers. I blame my dad. Thanks to him I’ve seen loads of cliche’ guy movies- The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, A Few Good Men, The Dirty Dozen, yup I’ve seem ‘em all. Now don’t get me wrong my mom feeds my guy movie luvin’ too; without her I would have never seen Death Wish-and ever since I saw that flick I walk around NYC with a load of quarters in a sock tucked away in my pocket. In fact, it was my mom who gave me Runaway Jury as a gift way back in middle school. You know me too well mom. I loved it.

Despite my best efforts, I find writing a brief synopsis for Runaway Jury as easy as looking for vegetarian friendly food in a butchers shop. So I snatched the tagline from the IMDb description: “A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.” Not enough info for you? Well then, here’s the trailer:

This drama/thriller is definitely worth seeing. The cast is stellar (hello- where else will you get Hackman and Hoffman on the same screen? and don’t get me started on Rachel and John!), and the scenes are electric!

Memorable Runaway Jury Quote:

Gentlemen, trials are too important to be left up to juries.

- Rankin Fitch

Feel free to comment below! What are your favorite films? Are you a fan of thrillers- which ones?

Feature Film Friday: The Ghost and Mrs.Muir (1947)

One of the most hauntingly (pun so intended) romantic films that I’ve seen, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir stars native New Yorker Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady), and young Natalie Wood (West Side Story). Mrs. Muir, a young widow, moves to a seaside cottage with her daughter Anna and housemaid Martha. She discovers upon arrival that the house is haunted by its previous tenant and owner, Captain Daniel Gregg. Undeterred by the roguish Captain Gregg, Mrs. Muir decides to stay and forms a “unique” relationship with the ghost. But problems arise when Mrs. Muir can no longer afford the rent, and later when she becomes attracted to suave Miles Fairley.

The movie was actually made into a series in the late 60′s- but wasn’t very popular at the time, it has since accrued a dedicated following of fans. Famed composer Bernard Hermann is said to have claimed that the score he created for this film was the best of his career- outshining the one’s he created for classics like Citizen Kane, Psycho, and Taxi Driver. Gene, is of course, gorgeous and cast perfectly alongside arrogant and “crusty” Rex. And me and my sister were thrilled to see George Sanders annoy the hell out of us with another one of his devious low-life characters (if you’ve seen Rebecca then you know what I’m talking about).

Just so you know this movie doesn’t have what my sister calls “a happy ending”. However, I think it’s an adorable romantic melancholic movie that deserves to be seen. Luckily, one of YouTube’s many users has been kind enough to upload the whole thing here. If you watch it please feel free to come back and let me know what you think!

Memorable The Ghost and Mrs. Muir quote:

Confound it, madam, my language is most controlled. And as for me morals, I lived a man ‘s life and I’m not ashamed of it; and, I can assure you no woman’s ever been the worse for knowing me – and I’d like to know how many mealy-mouthed bluenoses can say the same.

- Captain Gregg

Feature Film Friday: Jaws (1975)

I love old school movies. My mom taught me at a young age to appreciate old films, and especially classics like Jaws. Probably the most quintessential of summer films, Jaws has always been one of my favorites and as soon as the weather warms up I put in some popcorn, pop in my DVD, and commence being terrifically entertained by a 25 foot great white . Despite it’s now dated look, it’s one of those movies everybody has seen, or at least should. Basically, It’s a Wonderful Life is to Christmas what Jaw’s is to Summer.

Jaws, for those of you who don’t know, is about a small island community named Amity that’s being terrorized by a massive shark. Roy Scheider plays new sheriff Martin Brody, who sets out to stop the beast despite pressure from local businesses- you know, they make their living off of visitors during the summer season, so what’s a few dead people in between friends? When a young boy becomes the next victim of the predator, a bounty is put up for the beast. Brody, old (and creepy) local fisherman Quint, and marine scientist Matt Hooper set out to stop the great white.

Memorable Jaws Quote:

I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. $10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

- Quint, Jaws (1975)

Feature Film Friday: My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

As a writer I always get a kick out of films that start with narration, because much like the first lines of a novel they instantly let the reader know if this is a book worth reading. And the first time I heard the opening lines, delivered flawlessly by actress/writer Nia Vardalos, I knew that this one was a keeper. Toula (Vardalos) responds to her fathers complaints about her elderly unmarried life with:

My dad’s been saying that to me since I was fifteen, because nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life- marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone until the day we die.

Aha! Now this is silver screen gold! Now, we know what kind of movie this is! Nia’s clever wit and brilliantly delivered lines poke fun at the quirks that families, no matter where they are from, drive us crazy with. My whole family has seen this movie so many times that we ALL know every characters lines by heart- in fact my sister can do a mean Gus Portokalos, and I an deliver Aunt Voula’s lines like a pro.

MBFGW is one of those feel-good movies that never, ever, get’s old. Casted, written, acted, and directed perfectly, this movie delivers plenty of laughs and the perfect dose of heartfelt moments.

Memorable My Big Fat Greek Wedding Quote:

When I was growing up, I knew I was different. The other girls were blonde and delicate, and I was a swarthy six-year-old with sideburns.

I pretty sure you can catch the whole thing on youtube here, but you’ll love it so much you’ll probably want to buy it. In which case, it’s usually available at target or walmart for $5.

Feature Film Friday: Thor (2011)

Every girl wishes that her guy was a built-like-a-rock, hot, Australian, fallen god of thunder. Unfortunately, that make of man is out of stock. So, if you can’t have him you might as well spend 114 minutes eating popcorn watching Chris Hemsworth play him. Based off of the Marvel comic, Hemsworth plays Thor Odinson- who, when banished from his homeworld of Asgard must fight to regain the powers that were taken from  him from his father. In a machevellian twist, we find out that Thor’s own brother Loki is behind Thor’s banishment, and he has no intention of letting his brother return to Asgard.

Thor is wildly entertaining, and the graphics are insane. I saw it when it came out in theatres in 3D, which was pretty cool. Having never read the comic series, I was pleasantly surprised at the very Shakespearean undertones of the storyline. I loved this movie so much I bought it on DVD and I have every intention of catching The Avengers this May, and the planned sequel to Thor (and I’m in no way a comic fan)!

Here’s the trailer:

Memorable Thor Quote:

“You know, for a crazy homeless person… he’s pretty cut.”

- Darcy, Thor 2011

Have you seen Thor? What did you think? If not, do you plan to see the Avengers or have you seen any other Marvel movies?

Feature Film Friday: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Now this Friday’s film isn’t only a favorite of mine, it’s actually a favorite of the director’s too- Alfred Hitchcock. Said to be the king of suspense’s fav flick, Shadow of a Doubt is a quintessential Friday film. Suspense, intrigue, amazing artistic shots, and a murderer walking the streets of a small quiet town. *Sigh* I just love this film! Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton star as a niece and uncle who share the same name- Charlie. Initially thrilled that her Uncle Charlie has come to her small town for visit, Young Charlie soon realizes that her own uncle may be the famed Merry Widow Murderer. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues as Charlie determines that he must kill his young niece to protect his secret, and as she does everything in her power to keep her family safe and get her uncle to leave them alone.

From an artistic standpoint, this movie is pure gold. The shots that Hitchcock filmed this movie in are dazzling. Seemingly typical, hum drum scenery of a small town is transformed into the set for a riveting thriller. From a viewing standpoint, the relationship between Uncle Charlie and Charlie is so well written and acted that you can’t help but read into the intriguing undercurrents of their relationship.

Trailer:

This is definitely one of those movies that once you see it, you’ll want to own it. What movies do you love? Are you a fan of mystery thrillers? Have you seen any other Hitchcock films???

Memorable Shadow of a Doubt Quote:

We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him.

- Joseph Newton (Charlie’s dad)

Feature Film Friday: True Grit (1969/2010)

I always love me a good Western. So choosing True Grit to feature on this friday’s post was a no-brainer. True Grit is based off of a novel by Charles Portis about a tough US Marshall and a Texas Ranger who help track down the killer of 14 year old Maddie Ross’ father. Along with Maddie, who determinedly seeks retribution for her fathers murder, US Marshall Rooster Cogburn and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf set out for Indian country in hope’s of catching the ever elusive Tom Chaney. What’s really great is that both the 1969 version, starring John Wayne, and the 2010 version, starring Jeff Bridges, are both extremely well done movies- so whichever one you choose to watch, you ‘ll be in for a real treat ;)

Here’s the 2010 Trailer (btw, the soundtrack for this movie is ah-maze-ing):

Jeff Bridges and John Wayne play Rooster differently, as well as Hailee Steinfield and Kim Darby (Maddie Ross), so I promise if you decide to see them both you won’t be bored at all. And this is the 1969 Trailer:

Memorable True Grit Quote:

You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God. – Maddie Ross

So do you plan on seeing True Grit? Are you a fan of Westerns? What movie would you like to see next on Feature Film Friday?

Feature Film Friday: The Joy Luck Club (1993)

Usually, if you’re looking hard enough, you can come across a good movie. Occasionally, you’ll come across a great movie. And rarely you’ll come across a movie like The Joy Luck Club, the kind of movie that has the ability to completely engage its viewers. Because, no matter who you are, one way or another you’ll be able to recognize yourself in at least one of the many memorable characters of The Joy Luck Club. Based off the best-selling novel of the same name by Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club focuses on the lives of four Chinese-American immigrant families and how the past experiences of four mothers guide the present lives of their daughters.

I couldn’t find an actual trailer for this film, but I was able to find one of the JLC’s most memorable scenes:

Scene’s are woven together, seamlessly creating a film that will make you laugh, cry, and consider. Amy Tan’s book was made for the silver screen- excellent directing, casting, and writing has made this movie a must see for anyone interested in a movie with quality heart.