After cooking quite a lot and then eating quite a lot I then rested quite a lot….I always check out what Turner Classic’s is showing and I tuned in towards the beginning of one of my all time favorite films: “SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS”—a wonderful Writer-Director Preston Sturges film….for the uninitiated--it’s just such a ‘thirty’s-forty's’ kind of a movie released in 1941. Joel McRae & Veronica Lake, (her best film performance to my way of thinking…and McRae is gorgeous and delightful and great to look at, too...) are the stars, with a lot of those great great character actors of that period---one of the best parts of ‘the studio system’. What makes this such a great film for me is that it starts out a slapstick comedy—witty and silly and very stylish looking in every way, with fast clipped dialogue-- and ends up with a ‘message’ that makes me cry every time I see it.
I often talk about this film and tell younger people who are unfamiliar with it, that it’s a ‘must see’ because of this seeming turn-about, and the fact that the ‘message’ is such a terrific one. (I always felt and still do feel that the look of the ‘chain gang’ sequences had a more realistic feel to them than any other film I’ve seen to date, including those scenes in ‘Cool Hand Luke’…! Maybe because “Sullivan’s” is in Black & White…I don’t know)….And there is such a look to the film….if you don’t know it, run out and rent it! I so much want to tell the great ending and the ‘message’, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, it’s worth renting on many many levels, not the least of which is that it’s a Preston Sturges film….and while you are at the rental store, (I mean Netflix), rent “The Lady Eve”, too….another very witty faced paced Sturges (again, written and directed) comedy with two of our greatest actors ever…Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck (both looking fabulous, I might add), plus more of those fantastic thirty’s/forty’s character actors—William Demerest, Eric Blore, (both in “Sullivans”, too) and Charles Coburn, to name just a few.
A day or two ago, when I couldn’t sleep early early early in the morning, I was surfing around those other movie channels that have no interruptions, thank God, and saw the last fifteen minutes of “The Miracle Worker”….another film that I just love!!
Besides having two of the greatest performances ever filmed, it has a gorgeous score by Laurence Rosenthal that can bring me to tears, in a millisecond---in fact, this is another film that always brings me to tears—most especially at that moment when the young Helen Keller makes the connection between ‘words’ and ‘objects-thoughts-concepts-etc.’ that Annie Sullivan has been trying to teach her throughout the film---well I am always a goner! Between, these two great actresses performances—(Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke)--and the direction of Arthur Penn coupled with that incredibly moving score---the tears always come—I mean sobbing tears---and I’ve probably seen this film 20 times, but that moment never fails to move me. And, I had seen the original Broadway production with the same two actresses which was an incredible experience “live”—especially the dinner scene, if you are familiar with this play and film--- and on top of that, it’s so damned inspiring, too, you know? And again…gorgeous black and white photography---Ernest Caparros—of whom I know nothing except that he was the cinematographer on this film!
I said in an earlier post how the movies saved my life and ruined my life, too…and that is still true, today. Give me a terrific movie and I am a happy person….including all the movies that allow me to cry like a baby. Like “Finding Neverland”. Oh my….I was so grateful that I was able to see this in my own home, by myself. It would have been deeply embarrassing to be in a movie theatre….because this movie is a-whole-box-of-Kleenex film for me, you know?….I want Johnny Depp to adopt me…no, wrong….I just want Johnny Depp.!
Beautiful Beautiful film, in every way---another gorgeous score; that wonderful little boy—Freddie Hysmore(?)…in fact there wasn’t a false moment in that entire film. And for my money, it should have won Bas Picture at the Academy Awards; I knew it wouldn’t, but I still think it should have….I don’t even remember what did win---“Lord Of The Rings”?? (I think).
“Sullivan’s Travels” didn’t win anything and wasn’t even nominated for anything; neither did “The Lady Eve”; “Finding Neverland” , though there were multiple nominations, won only one major Award and that was for the music; but on the other hand, both Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Academy Awards in 1962 for their stunning performances in “The Miracle Worker”.
‘…..Sometimes there’s God so quickly….’!