Sunday, April 8, 2012

Does proving that a German Psychiatrist doodles mean him diagnosing you as a manic depressive invalid?

In the world of Frank Capra it sure does! I'm sure you've guessed by now that I have seen Mr. Deeds Goes To Town and two other classics including a strong eyebrow acting role from 1946. But first...

Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936) - The Frank Capra classic that won him his second best director for the 1930's. A typical Capra style like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or Meet John Doe, this time it's a small town poet from New England who inherits 20 million dollars from a long lost uncle and moves to New York City. Not only the typical fish out of water story, but everyone is out to con him from his money or to embarrass him in public. Yet as the hero he is not the bumbling fool people take him for and when he decides to give his money away they try to declare him insane. A unrealistic trial by the state, he wins over everyone and is the hero who gets the girl.

Is it sappy? Yes. Is it unrealistic? Yes. Is it a great movie? Yes. The story may be annoying at times, but Gary Cooper is great and you will enjoy every minute. As compared to The Great Ziegfield, as I've said before nothing was going to beat that movie because of what Florenz Ziegfield meant to the entertainment industry and he was missed.

The Smiling Lieutenant (1932) - A classic from before the self imposed censorship from the movie industry came about. A silly musical about an officer in the Austrian army winking at a visiting princess who is offended. Trying to avoid an international (or continental) incident, he has to be their escort while visiting Austria and ultimately has to marry her. Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins are comical and lustful in a well acted film. Even though I don't like musicals, the songs relate to the story, the songs are rather comical and the sexual situations are what you would seed about forty years later in films, not what you expect when you think of movies from the 1930's.

This is a great film, but you can't use basic movie math to compare it to the best picture of 1932, Grand Hotel, you will need to do movie calculus. In this case you would apply the Lionel Barrymore algebraic equation. Did Grand Hotel have Lionel Barrymore? Yes. Did The Smiling Lieutenant have Lionel Barrymore? No. The answer is Grand Hotel was the best film of 1932, it just as simple as that.

The Razor's Edge (1946) - Based on the W. Somerset Maugham's novel, where he is one of the main characters. Does that mean he's not real or it's not a novel???? And Tyrone Power's eyebrows, Gene Tierney, Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter and Herbert Marshall all make up an all star cast. About a WWI vet who decides to find himself by traveling around Europe and Asia and finds enlightenment in India starring at a mountain. In other words, he became a hippie after the war and traveled like a bum trying to become a zen master. Gene Tierney is shallow and loves him but wants the life of luxury in Chicago (joke's on her) and then becomes bitter when his eyebrows show up ten years later.

It was a very good movie, but nothing could beat The Best Years of Our Lives the year after WWII ended. I don't think Gone With The Wind could win, so there is no need to compare it but just say it was one of the better films for the year.

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