Saturday, March 26, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Notes: 3/26/11
Audrey Hepburn is truly an iconic beauty in this role.
Everything Audrey does is graceful and legendary.
Martin Balsam – Fun! Great performance.
Love the people at her party. The woman in the mirror! The eyepatch!
Film has such a sleek, modern look to it.
Great screenplay. Great direction.
Moon River – such a perfectly jazzy score.
Wonderfully romantic ending. Man, woman, and cat.

Review: A-
The beauty and talent of Audrey Hepburn make this romantic comedy an irresistable treat. Memorable scenes spiced by a snappy screenplay, soaring music by Henry Mancini, including Oscar-winning 'Moon River', and great supporting performances are all part of the film's many assets. Seeing an iconic Audrey running around New York City looking chic and cute as can be is enough to intoxicate any film lover.

The Errand Boy (1961)

Notes: 3/26/11
Satirical expose of Hollywood set to Jerry Lewis slapstick.
Brian Donlevy had a colorful career. Good character actor.
Funny, quick, and not entirely stupid.
Renee Taylor!
Loses steam over time.
Sig Ruman has an amusing bit as a film director.
Jerry Lewis is quite a comedian, but not every routine works here.

Review: C+
Satirical expose of Hollywood set to Jerry Lewis slapstick. Fun runs out over time, but the film's enjoyment is owed mainly to the fine supporting cast of character actors like Brian Donlevy and Sig Ruman. Lewis is very talented, but not every routine works in this outing.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

La Notte (1961)

Notes: 3/17/11
Very philosophical. Themes of life and death.
When you're alone you begin to appreciate things more. The important thing is to create something lasting.
Men are constantly chasing Moreau, but she keeps running away.
Mastroianni seems to come across girls he can't hold on to.
Monica Vitti steals the movie.

Review: A-
Quiet, reflective, simple study of a crumbling marriage seen through a series of events leading up to a long night of meditation. The lead characters are Mastroianni and Moreau, each bringing the right levels of masculinity and femininity to their roles. Man and wife each undergo numerous mental and emotional challenges while visiting a sick friend, carousing at a rich man's party, and meeting other people. The film maintains Antonioni's typically deliberate pacing, as well as his ability to forsake narrative for imagery, assuring that he is a cinematic artist. Monica Vitti is marvelous in a crucial supporting role.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

101 Dalmatians (1961)

Notes: 3/16/11
Lengthy, colorful opening credits. Lots of spots.
Cute, cute, cute.
The women and their dogs. Fun similarities.
Cruella de Vil - villainous joy! Excellent entrance. Green toxic smoke.
Love the scene with the puppies watching the cliffhanger with the heroic dog.
Too much time spent with the farm animals and with Cruella's henchmen.
Exciting escape scene with the soot and footprints and Cruella prowling around.
Possibly one of the cutest Disney movies. Love those puppies!

Review: B+
Possibly one of the cutest Disney movies follows the adventures of a dalmatian couple and their offspring in 1960s England. The lives of the dalmatian puppies are soon threatened by Cruella de Vil, one of cinema's most memorable villains. Unique-looking animation and charming characters make this one of the most enjoyable of the later Disney classics.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Colossus of Rhodes (1961)

Notes: 3/15/11
Sergio Leone certainly makes this film look like the epic it's trying to be.
So the movie is two hours of swords, bondage, and betrayal and then...Earthquake!!!
Wow, I just realized that Lea Massari was Anna in L'Avventura. I knew she looked familiar.
The sets are pretty cool, especially the The Colossus statue.
If the script and most of the plot had been removed, the movie would be so much better.

Review: C-
Early Sergio Leone epic has some impressive sets, particularly when they're being destroyed by an earthquake. Film offers little else in terms of real entertainment. Too much sword and sandal seriousness offers little more than wooden dramatic flourishes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Pleasure of His Company (1961)

Notes: 3/14/11
Pretty damn talented cast and director.
Wait... Fred Astaire and Debbie Reynolds play father and daughter? Strange.
Even stranger is the obvious sexual tension between these two.
Fluffy story is very well acted. Nice ensemble. Everyone does well.
Reynolds does a good job, but the film really belongs to Astaire and Lilli Palmer.

Review: B-
Nice ensemble rescues a slightly strange premise about Fred Astaire returning home for the wedding of estranged daughter Debbie Reynolds. Complications ensue when Astaire, charming even in his old age, sparks new feelings with his daughter while stirring up old ones with ex-wife Lilli Palmer. Well-acted by all, with fine support from Charles Ruggles and the adorable Tab Hunter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Susan Slade (1961)

Notes: 3/7/11
Good music by Max Steiner
Theme from A Summer Place is featured.
Lots of similarities to A Summer Place. Delmer Daves, Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue, etc.
Favorite scene could be the father-daughter walk. Nice fatherly advice.
Soap opera story with glossy treatment and pretty good performances.
Baby is accidentally set on fire. Oh, the drama!

Review: B-
Soap opera story with glossy treatment and pretty good performances. Young Connie Stevens becomes pregnant and deals with the effects of love and loss while her mother passes the baby off as her own. Similarities to A Summer Place are hard to ignore when you have director Delmer Daves and stars Dorothy McGuire and Troy Donahue re-teaming. Still, this film holds its own as an entertaining melodrama.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961)

Notes: 3/4/11
Color and Widescreen for a Three Stooges movie? Wow.
Film is well-made, but lacking in acting and humor.
Feels a bit empty. Not a typical stooges movie, but that sort of makes it a waste of talent.
Lots of ice skating.
Review: C-
The Three Stooges have very little do, making this film an unfortunate waste of talent. The cast has limited acting experience and lacks humor and energy. What should have been a fun, silly re-telling of the fairy tale is merely an empty, if well-made, movie experience.