Greetings Film Fans! Hope your summer is going well. There are a few releases this week in the summer mix, but nothing that jumps off the page in terms of excitement. For those of you who are Armchair Film Followers– don’t forget to record Duck and Cover this weekend on Turner Classic Movies. If you have never seen it, it’s the short film made as a cartoon to inform the population about what to do in case of a nuclear attack. No, I’m not kidding. For those of you who saw the tweet this week of the man posting the kindergarten song “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” re-written with the words of “Lockdown, Lockdown, Lock the Door,” it’s a stark reminder that we haven’t come all that far from the fifties, folks!
Other films you might want to record this week include one of Doris Day’s best called Please Don’t eat the Daisies; a look at a silent comedy master, (one of my favorites)-Harold Lloyd. Some of Lloyd’s shorts are being shown on TCM throughout the month, so check the listings. I recommend Why Worry for Lloyd fans. And for millennials who have never seen Lucille Ball or Desi Arnaz in “I Love Lucy,” they are showing one of the few times they made a feature film together. It’s The Long, Long Trailer and it has some funny bits that make it worth a viewing.
Leslie Howard is the featured actor this month on Turner Classic. He was so much better as an actor than what is usually seen on screen with his nebbish portrayal of Ashley, the man who is Scarlett O’ Hara’s unrequited love interest in Gone with the Wind. Howard is featured this month in The Petrified Forest with Humphrey Bogart and in the original Pygmalion film version adapted from George Bernard Shaw. Howard was the original Henry Higgins, before Rex Harrison dominated the role on Broadway in My Fair Lady. And Leslie Howard also stars in the classic The Scarlet Pimpernel, which isn’t widely shown and is an interesting film as Howard portrays a rather foppish aristocrat who is secretly a spy. It was the original “origin” character before Zorro or Clark Kent and other super heroes adapted the idea of a dual character with a meek side that conceals their heroic natures.
From 6 Degrees Magazine, there are several interesting articles this week. There are two pieces on the debut of Won’t You Be My Neighbor, about Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame. Speaking of dual natures, the documentary reveals Rogers as much more than simply the kind hearted and dorky guy who donned a sweater in each episode. Rogers had a message and an agenda to convey, and he was a dynamic activist and advocate for children’s programming in his own right.
Ocean’s 8 premiers this week, and there are several reviews of a decidedly mixed nature on this female heist version of the long-running series. But the one stand-out article recommended is What if Star Wars never happened? Which is a great ‘what if’ for those of us who like to write or just to ponder these variables of life. The entire premise of my book- Six Degrees of Film- tells the story of Hollywood and the arc of the past quarter-century which has been dependent on Star Wars as the culture phenomenon that it was. Star Wars was a leader in CGI and for promotion of special effects in film-which had been a dying art before the first 1976 Star Wars, as well as the arbiter of all things Star Wars found in the known universe. It included the science-fiction realm and the Hollywood Blockbuster business model, complete with the concept of serial films and a plot that was simple enough to appeal to all ages. So that is an interesting concept: What if Star Wars never happened?
Next week we will have more film recommendations to record classic films shown on TCM. And in the meantime, stay cool and see you at the movies!-ML