Posted in Christmas, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

christmas55I must say I’m partial to the black and white version, seems more authentic.
Why is this such a Christmas classic? In some ways because of its similarities to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Whether it’s a rich man who has lost the joy of Christmas or an everyday working person who just feels like the world would be better off without him, we love, love, love stories of redemption. We love to believe that no matter how far gone you are, there’s always hope, always a way back. Christmas is a time of hope, a time when people want to believe that all things can be put right again. And I love anything James Stewart was in.bankers4

It’s not a complicated story, in fact, its utter simplicity makes it appealing.

You can keep going, long after you think you can’t.ImageFunny notes:
The real name of the actor who played Nick the bartender is Sheldon Leonard (think Big Bang Theory)

The policeman is named Bert and his friend the cab driver is Ernie (as in Bert and Ernie, Sesame Street)

Who says product placement is getting worse? The products and advertisements featured in Mr. Gower’s drugstore include: Coca-Cola, Bayer Aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, The Saturday Evening Post, Camel cigarettes, Lucky Strike cigarettes, La Unica cigars, Chesterfield cigarettes, Vaseline hair tonic, Penetro cough syrup, and Paterson tobacco pipes. Apparently the people of Bedford Falls were heavy smokers.

In Gremlins, Billy’s hometown is Kingston Falls, laid out to look like Bedord Falls and also has clips from It’s A Wonderful Life.

Kermit the Frog examines what would of happened if he’s never been born It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, a nod to It’s A Wonderful Life.bankers3

Cheers, Saturday Night Live, Veggietales, The Simpsons, Mork & Mindy, Family Guy, Raising Hope, Red Dwarf, ZuZu’s Petals, The Killers, and more have imitated or referenced this film, it’s a pop culture staple.

It’s A Wonderful Life lost RKO $525,000 at the box office during it’s original run.christmas46

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Posted in Movies, Uncategorized

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE

aaol2One of my fav Halloween flicks. Madcap and macabre, it gives laughs, groans, and an appreciation that some of the best movies were made long before you were born.

Released in 1944 (although filmed in 1941 due to Cary Grant’s availability) this film has withstood the test of time. Based on Joseph Kesselring‘s play; both the play and movie are ghastly joys, in their own ways.

Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster gives a stunningly awkward and charmingly frenetic performance.aaol1

Josephine Hull and Jean Adair portray Abby and Martha Brewster, Mortimer’s darling Aunts who also happen to be serial killers for a good cause, “It’s one of our charities”. They’re like the Dexter of their day. Their explanation of their murderous ways? They stop the suffering of lonely old bachelors by poisoning them with arsenic, strychnine and “just a pinch of cyanide” disguised in elderberry wine.

Uncle Teddy (John Alexander) who believes he’s Teddy Roosevelt unwittingly aids the Aunts by digging graves in the basement, thinking he is digging locks for the Panama Canal and burying yellow fever victims.  Hull, Adair, and Alexander reprise their 1941 stage production roles.

Mortimer, whose ultimate dysfunctional family causes no end of headaches explains to his hapless new bride – “Insanity runs in my family, practically gallops!”

Peter Lorre and Raymond Massey are so sublimely creepy they really are Halloween.aaol3