william steig drawing

The Bachelor & the Bobby Soxer

Apologies: 1. I apologize for the interlaced video. 2. I apologize for the lapse in posting. I was lazing about at the beach Dear readers, Your day is about to be made. I have a glorious treat for you. It is something many writers and directors strive for, but few ever attain. It is the perfect comedic scene, and it is in The Bachelor & the Bobby Soxer from 1947 starring Cary Grant, Shirley Temple, and Myrna Loy. Of note: Grant also exercised his dramatic muscles as an angel in The Bishop’s Wife the same year. In 1948 he was back to being his funny flustered self in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, also with Myrna Loy. Coincidentally all […]

Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen is a splendiferous technicolor wonder. Fairy tales, cute kids, ballet, bergermasters, and 19th century Copenhagen. I’m not sure you could ask for more. You have already learned of my childhood switch to technicolor. It probably broke your heart. Here we have another staple in my musical roster. If it was safety and security I was after, Hans was the jackpot. The 1952 film is not a biography of Hans Christian Andersen, but rather a “fairytale about this great spinner of fairy tales.” In the film, Hans is a cobbler played by the angel voiced Danny Kaye. Stodgy grown ups have Hans banished from town for filling the children’s heads with joy and laughter, and he and his […]

Baby Doll

Oh Elia. Elia, Elia, Elia. This is Elia Kazan’s 1956 film Baby Doll written by Tennessee Williams (based on his short plays 27 Wagons Fulls of Cotton and The Long Stay Cut Short). The film stars* Carroll Baker as Baby Doll, a 19 year old girl married to the middle aged Archie Leigh Meighan, a cotton gin owner played by Karl Malden. In order to marry her, Archie Leigh promised Baby Doll’s now deceased father that she would remain a virgin until her 20th birthday (now two days away!). Baby Doll is utterly unexcited about the prospect of having to consummate her marriage with such a soggy excuse for a man and treats her husband with the utmost contempt. Crazed, […]

Race in Film: Paisá (Paisan)

Paisá directed in 1946 by Roberto Rossellini is, in my most humble opinion, one of the greatest films ever made. After watching neo realist films I often wonder how different American movies would have been then and now, had WWII been fought on US soil. I’m not saying Best Years of Our Lives (released the same year) isn’t good, but it’s certainly no Paisá. Paisá is the second film in Rossellini’s “War trilogy”, films made during and after the war (preceded by Open City, followed by Germany Year Zero). Though Open City is generally more critically acclaimed, I find Paisá to be more moving. The film consists of six episodes set during the liberation of Italy at the end of […]

Alice in Wonderland: A Little Suggestion

There will be days when you feel very, very sorry for yourself. You will wear your socks into the bathroom and step in a puddle. You will pour yourself a bowl of cereal and realize there is no more milk. No. Nothing will go your way. You will lie in bed and sigh the deepest and darkest sighs. You will be sad. Yes. You will cry. Here is a suggestion. Go deeper into the blue.


Malick, you son of a bitch. If you’re only going to make 1 film every 500 years, at least make them crappy so I’m not thirsting for more. In every way, shape and form, Malick’s 1973 film Badlands is a perfect dream. Everything is magical about the film. Nothing fits. Everything is a tad off (things that are a little “off” are inherently magical you know): The strange dialogue (Kit and Holly make childlike observations about simple things. This intensifies the surreality of the two. They are more than surreal, almost omnipotent in some way. As insane as he is, Kit seems to have a greater awareness of the world. Nothing slips by him),

Bringing Up Baby: Susan’s laugh

*Two lame disclaimers: 1) The audio is doing something weird, 2) I sound like I’m barely alive This clip is from a chunk of perfection disguised as the 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby directed by Howard Hawks.  This was the second of four films that Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant would star in together (the first being the incredible Sylvia Scarlett which I’ll have to do a post on soon. The others being the under appreciated Holiday and the over appreciated The Philadelphia Story ). In the film Hepburn plays perhaps the greatest woman cinema has ever seen: Susan Vance, the whimsical, crazy, fearless, and unbelievably fun girl you wish was your best friend. Susan sets her sights on […]

Race in Film: Meet Me in St. Louis

As you have learned in the previous post, I adore Meet Me in St. Louis. I adore the Trolley Song and I adore many of the other musical numbers the film offers. This is one of them. Margaret O’Brien plays Tootie, the mischievous baby of the Smith family, who wishes to show off for her sister Esther’s (Judy Garland) party guests. The song, “Under the Bamboo Tree” is fabulous and allows the audience to fawn all over O’Brien. This is her scene. Garland is simply supporting. However, if we listen closely to the lyrics of the song they sing, we may pause in our enjoyment:

Meet Me in St. Louis

This clip is from the 1944 MGM technicolor smorgasbord Meet Me in St. Louis directed by total genius Vincente Minnelli and produced by that musical making powerhouse Arthur Freed. I know I normally don’t mention producers, but if we’re talking about musicals of the 40s and 50s, and we are, we’ve got to include the Freed. The film follows a family’s adventures, trials, and minor tribulations in St. Louis, Missouri before the 1904 World’s Fair. It stars Judy Garland, Lucille Bremer, Leon Ames, the lovely Mary Astor, the always comforting even when prickly Harry Davenport, and child star Margaret O’Brien.

An Unmarried Woman

(Ok the audio aint so hot. I SAID THIS WAS A WORK IN PROGRESS DIDN’T I?) Hold on to your pants. This is An Unmarried Woman directed by Paul Mazurksky in 1978. (You might remember Paul from his fairly recent cameo on Curb Your Enthusiasm where he played one of the anti Larry David producers of…The Producers) Though it was nominated for three Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Screenplay), An Unmarried Woman does not seem to get much attention. At least as far as I know. I stumbled across the movie pretty much by accident. By that I mean I was not looking to expand my Mazursky knowledge, and the film did not star actors I was particularly […]