Posts Tagged ‘Irving Berlin’
Recently one of my favorite NY cinemas, the Film Forum, was running a new 35 mm restoration of Otto Preminger’s “Laura” from 1944. I went to see it on New Year’s Eve (they actually offered a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, how nice was that) – really charming. I’ve always loved the tune (the melody is pretty clever and mysteriously catchy…), so it’s great to know where it actually comes from…
Laura in Amazon Instant Video
Anyway. That made me look up for more classic movies with great jazz standards in them.
So far I’ve also liked:
“Days of Wine and Roses” (1962) by Blake Edwards. Music by Henry Mancini. Drew out a pretty dramatic story of alcoholism and love. At some point it was a bit cornily moralizing but actually, also really effective (I’ve been actually trying to drink less after seeing it).
“One Touch of Venus” (1948) by William A. Seiter, starring Robert Walker and Ava Gardner.With Kurt Weill’s Speak Low in it (much slower version than how most people play the tune nowadays). Beautiful!
“The Americanization of Emily” (1964) by Arthur Hiller, starring Julie Andrews and James Garner. That one has Johnny Mandel’s “Emily” in it as the title tune (nowadays most often associated with Bill Evans’s version of it, I guess) and some really great thought-provoking anti-war dialogues there.
And then some movies starring the great Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire:
“Top Hat” (1935) by Mark Sandrich. Music by Irving Berlin (With Cheek To Cheek and more).
I noticed a hilarious quote there, Mrs. Madge Hardwick, sharing some of her mature wisdom
with ms. Gale Tremont (Ginger Rogers), who was a bit perplexed about how impassionately she tolerated her husband’s affairs: “My dear, when you’re as old as I am you take your men as you find them. If you can find them.” Maybe I’m wrong but I think nowadays people take expectations on perfection so seriously that they don’t even joke about things like that? And also interestingly, despite the emphasis on girl power, it’s rare nowadays to come across characters with such striking charm and charisma as seen in these movies… And the sensuality of it (strange how that actually does not necessarily require nudity)…
With US billing address, it’s really easy to watch them on Amazon Instant video, for example. (BTW, I support paying for copyright! BTW2: I’ve added some affiliate links here – it’s my first time trying it, but I should actually earn a few cents if you watch it through my links…)
I’ve been having such a great time discovering those movies lately. Hollywood movies actually used to be quite a bit more chic and witty…?