All About Eve (1950)

I am always a little intrigued by films about cinema: the inward-looking eye, the self-criticism (more often than not). From The Artist to Kaagaz ke Phool, there’s something about films like this that I usually find appealing: perhaps because they offer a glimpse, even if unsavoury, into what lies beyond what one is currently viewing.

All About Eve isn’t about cinema; it’s about a related art, theatre (but there are nods here, aplenty, to cinema: there’s a passing reference to Zanuck—who produced All About Eve; and there are instances of people vying for a role, possibly even a career, in Hollywood). It’s about the ambition, the cut-throat competition, the fiercely burning desire to stay in the limelight—or to claw one’s way up there, in the first place.

The story begins at a glittering but exclusive awards night. This is the annual awards ceremony of the fictitious Sarah Siddons Society, and the who’s who of the theatre world is gathered here. While a boring veteran actor gives his speech, we are introduced, through a voiceover, to some of the characters attending this function. Characters, too, who play an important part in the story.

To begin with, there is Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), an influential journalist.

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Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

christmas-clip-art-free-downloads-174203I am a creature of habit. And a lot of habits of mine kick in around Christmastime every year. One is the daily posting, on Facebook, of a favourite Christmas carol. Another is this: the reviewing of a film that centres round Christmas. Over the years this blog has been in existence (I began it in November 2008), I’ve reviewed several films, some well-known, others not. This one, according to several polls, is listed as one of the very top Christmas films ever made.

It begins at Thanksgiving in New York City. The huge department store, Macy’s, at 34th Street, is holding its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the employee in charge of managing much of the parade is Mrs Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara). Doris is very harassed, what with the large number of people she has to juggle and instruct; thus, when she discovers that her Santa Claus has been drinking and is now tipsy, she nearly loses it.

Doris receives a shock

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Rear Window (1954)

Friend, blog reader and sometime fellow blogger Harvey nudged me gently last week with a bit of information I hadn’t remembered. August 13th, 2014 was the 115th birth anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock. Was I planning to post something Hitchcock-related to mark the occasion?

And how could I not? Hitchcock – in my opinion, one of the best directors cinema has ever seen, regardless of time and place – is a firm favourite of mine. I’ve reviewed several of his films; in fact, one of the first films I reviewed on this blog (The 39 Steps) dates from Hitchcock’s early British period. I’ve reviewed a hilariously black comedy (The Trouble with Harry); I’ve reviewed classics like Rebecca, and relatively little-known ones (among those not Hitchcock aficionados, I hasten to add) like Strangers on a Train or Lifeboat.

Time (and occasion) therefore, I concluded, to review one of my favourite of Hitchcock’s colour films, in the classic suspense mould. Rear Window, about a photographer stuck in his tiny apartment with a broken leg…

James Stewart as LB Jefferies 'Jeff' in Rear Window

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Pillow Talk (1959)

Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall acted together in three films: Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Send Me No Flowers. Since I’d already reviewed the other two, I decided it was time to complete the trio with a re-view and a review of Pillow Talk, the first of the Day-Hudson-Randall films.

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