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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Golden Age films, , , James Stewart, , , , Shop Around the Corner, , summertime, Van Johnson   

    SUMMER SHORTS 

    Tomorrow is the first official day of smelly armpits season (unless, of course, you live in the southern hemisphere of earth — or in any hemisphere of Ur-anus, where, they say, it stinks the year round). To greet the season, I’m saluting summer with a look back at several good old summer films (and I mean films that actually have “summer” in the title).

    It’s unthinkable that there’s no unstinkable way of sweating as I wrack my brain composing a fulsome introduction to each movie, so I’ll make do with a minimum of b.s. (background setting) preceding each clip….then sum(mer) it all up with bonus b.s. at post’s end.

    First we have SUMMERTIME (1955), starring Katherine Hepburn as a spinster vacationing in Venice. After meeting and being attracted to shop owner Rossano Brazzi in his antiques store, they unexpectedly encounter each other again in this scene:

    Next: IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949) starring Judy Garland & Van Johnson as lonelyhearts pen pals in a musical remake of THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Jimmy Stewart. Here is the trailer:

    Last we have SUMMER AND SMOKE (1961), a film adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play, neither of which I have seen, but which I include here because its title serves as a “Perfect!” lead-in to this anecdote told by the late actor Tony Randall (and which relates back to the first of our films):

    David Lean, one of the world’s finest directors, is a meticulous and fastidious craftsman, compulsive and uncompromising about getting things exactly the way he wants them. There is a scene in Summertime in which the [female] owner of a Venetian pensione arranges a tryst with a young American guest at night on the terrace of the pensione. Lean put the couple in two high-backed wicker chairs that completely envelope them,  placed with their backs to the camera so that all the lens could see were her left hand holding his right hand and puffs of white smoke from their cigarettes curling above the backs of the chairs. The brief scene, which could have been shot with any two people sitting in the chairs and the voices of the couple dubbed in later, took an entire night and a carton of cigarettes to film. Lean made the two actors do it over and over. Just as dawn was about to break, Lean finally got a shot that satisfied him.
    “Perfect! Perfect!” Lean exclaimed enthusiastically. “The puffs were perfect!”

    It seems we’ve come to the end  — but where, you might ask, is the promised “bonus b.s.”? Will you settle for the bonus without the b.s.? Here is the trailer for the aforementioned THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, directed by that master of “the Lubitsch touch” of happy memory to Golden Age film buffs:

     

     

     
    • Ricardo 12:51 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Apropos of nearly nothing, I noticed the other day that “Wet Hot American Summer” was available on Netflix, Sr. Muse. If that doesn’t make you want to subscribe, whatever will?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:39 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        “Wet Hot American Summer’ sounds too cerebral for my tastes, Ricardo, but thanks anyway for the heads up.

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    • linnetmoss 6:55 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I do love “The Shop Around the Corner”! When I hear about “Summertime,” I always think of the story that Hepburn fell into a Venetian canal and got a terrible ear infection. It may be a beautiful city, but the water is icky!

      Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 7:27 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I remember that cane chair smoking scene well 🙂
      need to work on your bs …

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:32 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Linnet, I appreciate your comment. Perhaps I should should have noted in my post that SUMMERTIME was filmed on location in Venice. Here is the scene in which Hepburn falls into the canal:

      Like

    • Garfield Hug 7:51 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Lol!! “Season of smelly armpits!!” 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:11 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Perhaps you’ve heard of the old phrase, “It’s the pits!” — it originally referred to stinky armpits, then came to metaphorically mean anything that stinks. And that’s my trivia lesson for today!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:37 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      We can’t have summer without..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:39 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. For those who may wonder who is the singer with the beautiful soprano voice, her name is Harolyn (not a typo) Blackwell.

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    • D. Wallace Peach 6:32 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t seen any of your Summertime movies. I liked Hepburn as a kid and should pick that one up. I fell into a canal in Holland, so I can relate. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:51 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Diana, no doubt your fall into the canal in Holland was no Dutch treat (except perhaps to a few juvenile bystanders who may have thought it was funny), but I’m sure you will find Kathryn Hepburn and SUMMERTIME to be a treat. Enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 1:09 am on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      And from what I’m reading about climate change we could have smelly armpits a lot longer. Unfortunately accompanied by widespread heat alerts and drought in the west.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:28 am on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right — climate change is the pits!

      Like

    • RMW 12:53 pm on June 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Summertime is one of my all-time favorite movies (I do have quite a few on my list). The romance between Hepburn and Brazzi left so much to the imagination, making it even more “romantic.” I can’t imagine either actor being willing to bare it all in front of the camera! Thank heavens…

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 11:41 pm on November 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , James Stewart,   

    THE DUKE GETS THE JITTERS 

    Once upon a time, I contributed work to an interrupted venue called SPEAK WITHOUT INTERRUPTION.  Two of my departed contributions from that limited engagement included film clips of legendary actors doing things they rarely did in their movies: James Stewart and Errol Flynn singing. I recently came across an even more surprising (if not astonishing) sight: a scene from the 1944 film THE FIGHTING SEABEES in which John Wayne dances The Jitterbug:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjEJTbf7mWQ

    While I’m at it, I might as well bring back the Stewart and Flynn clips and make this another THREE-FOR-ONE post, so here is Stewart singing Cole Porter’s “Easy To Love” in BORN TO DANCE (1938), followed by Flynn singing “That’s What You Jolly Well Get” from THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS (1943):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd7mvzG8bV4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwf-igYR-Z0

    I seem to recall accompanying the above two clips in my dead SWI posts with a few hundred well-chosen (?) words, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were. I guess that’s what I jolly well get.

     
    • Don Frankel 10:32 am on December 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great post and a great clip. I’ve seen this movie but I didn’t remember this part. But The Fighting Seabees is one the few in fact I think one of only four movies where the John Wayne character dies. Can you name the other three?

      Like

    • mistermuse 1:10 pm on December 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You’ve got me on that one, Don, but if I had to guess, I’d guess ROOSTER COGBURN might be one of them. I know he didn’t die in either of my two favorite John Wayne movies (THE QUIET MAN and NORTH TO ALASKA).

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      • Don Frankel 2:23 pm on December 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Muse you could have googled it but you didn’t and I like that. The other three I”m thinking of are The Sands of Iwo Jima, The Cowboys and The Shootist. I don’t count The Alamo as he plays Davey Crockett not one of his own characters. He might have died in some of those old black and whites before he was a star and I don’t count those either. His character is dead in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance but the movie opens with that so he doesn’t die on screen.

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    • literaryeyes 8:43 pm on December 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Enjoyed the videos. And I had the same uninspiring experience with SWI.

      Like

      • mistermuse 9:41 pm on December 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks.
        I now recall part of what I wrote in my vanished SWI post in which Stewart sang Cole Porter’s “Easy To Love”: Jimmy quipped re his singing voice, “That song was so good that not even I could spoil it.” He was right, though he needn’t have apologized – he pulled it off just fine.

        Like

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