Some weeks back, I was reading AJ Finn’s psychological thriller The Woman in the Window, in which the protagonist is addicted to old cinema—especially noir and suspense films. I ended up not liking the book much, but at least I got one good thing out of my reading of it: some recommendations. Including recommendations for films that seem as if they were made by Alfred Hitchcock (who, I should explain, is one of my favourite directors), but weren’t.
Of those, one that immediately caught my attention was Niagara, directed by Henry Hathaway. I had heard of this film before—most memorably on IMDB, where I’d seen its poster and read a brief synopsis about a honeymoon couple running into another couple with marital problems. The poster, with a sultry Marilyn Monroe in a hot pink dress, coupled with that description of the film, didn’t conjure up an image of a Hitchcockian film.
(a) Look like Marilyn Monroe/Betty Grable/Lauren Bacall
(b) Dress as if you were already married to that millionaire
(c) When asked the definition of scruples, open those baby blues wide and say “Huh?”
(d) Be very, very lucky
…which more or less sums up the `strategy’ the three protagonists of this film use to try and hook great (read wealthy) husbands for themselves.
This review is, of course, a tribute to Mitchum; it is also a tribute to my uncle, David Vernon Kumar. In the good old days, my uncle was a guitarist with the Hindi film company Filmistan. He was very talented, and though he passed away when I was a child, I remember him as having a great sense of humour and of regaling us with tales of his days in Bombay and the film world.
The connection: one of Vernie Uncle’s favourite tunes was the theme song of River of No Return. It’s a lovely song, and this is a lovely film.
The American Film Institute, in its list of America’s 100 funniest films, put Some Like it Hot right at the top, at Number 1. Humour, like beauty, is subjective, so I’m not sure how many would agree with that decision. What matters is that this film, total farce from beginning to end and a great entertainer, is definitely one of the funniest I’ve seen.
It’s been a while since I did my eye candy posts—lists of the Hollywood and Bollywood actors I think top the class when it comes to sheer good looks (nobody’s talking acting ability here). And in case you thought I’d forgotten about the ladies: no, I hadn’t. And yes, here they are: a list of the ten women I think were the loveliest in English-language cinema during the golden years.
Yes, I know I should’ve included her and her and her, and yes, how could I’ve forgotten her, but hey: this is my list! Enjoy, and tell me who your favourites are.
These, by the way, are more or less in order.
I adore Cary Grant, and Ginger Rogers? Yessir! Unfortunately, the last Cary Grant-Ginger Rogers flick I watched was the somewhat incoherent Once Upon a Honeymoon: a major disappointment, since it couldn’t seem to figure out whether it wanted to be a war movie, a comedy, a romance, or what. Monkey Business, on the other hand, was very watchable and loads of fun. Farce, true; and definitely slapstick in a lot of places, but good for a lot of laughs. And it has a luscious Marilyn Monroe.