Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old Marley Was As Dead As a Doornail

I tried to spare you. I tried to stay away with all my power of self-control. Hah, who is fooling whom? Or is it 'whom is fooling who?' I know how to solve this: To whom am I fooling?

It's the season, you see. And the wet weather. And the lights. And the camera. And the action. I'm talking movies. Not of the the soiled type, oh no. If only. My shame runs much deeper than that. I mean the sweet, stick to the roof of your mouth, treacly Christmas movies -- The Turner Classic, dead Hollywood stars, Robert Osbourne with a cup of spiked eggnog Yuletide offerings.

Let a December go by without Cary Grant as Dudley? (And please, we all would have dropped that skinny old bishop in a heartbeat, would we not? Even if God were watching.) And Scrooge, I must have my dose of Alastair Sim, "You may be a bit of undigested beef..."

It gets worse.

The Man Who Came to Dinner. Christmas in Connecticut. Miracle on some street or another. A Christmas Story.

At least I don't do musicals, but that's like the coke addict saying "At least I never freebased."

Like any hopeless addict, I practice this sad habit in darkened rooms, in flannel pj's, with phone turned off. Helpless, I can't stay away, year after year.

It's hard to trace the genesis of an addiction. Most would point to childhood influences, but my parents wouldn't watch a Christmas movie at gunpoint. Perhaps it was while babysitting, where so many bad habits are born -- oreo binges, nipping brandy, stealing make-up, reading personal correspondence. . . but I digress.

Ok, just come clean, they say. Hello, my name is Karin and I've watched A Wonderful Life fifteen times.

Hi Karin!

Who else is this brave?


  1. Huh! No one here. No one else is brave, I guess.
    Just a dog!
    Those humans, such cowards.
    Well, we're guard dogs 4 some reason.

  2. For years my Christmas movie was Casablanca. I don't remember how it started but it became a tradition. I'm sucker for Hitchcock. Notorious, North By Northwest, To Catch a Thief, Rear Window.

    Cary Grant is there in my All Time Most Beautiful Men Gallery with Alain Delon, Paul Newman and Marcello Mastroianni.

    Don't say no to musicals! Please! Singing In The Rain is a great movie. Yeah ok, there is a long winded and totally unnecessary fantasy dance sequence in the middle, serving not other purpose than Gene Kelly strutting his stuff, and Leslie Caron showing off her unarguably impressive limbs.

    Some Like It Hot has some music in it too, though not a musical, also it's the funniest movie ever made.

  3. Hi, my name is Aurelia and I am a total movie addict.

    I can never get enough Netflix or rentals from Videotheque in So. Pas. I admit it. I am fully addicted. My habit administered by way of video projection onto large blank wall with super stereophonic sound blasting. This is done usually in the middle of the night. Neighbors are puzzled but seem tolerant, thus far.

    I love black and white anything. Lynch, of course, a favorite. Last night it was Mafioso (1962)- an Italian film by Alberto Lattuada. A Gem!

    Of course, there's the Pasolini collection---but sometimes I have to have the lights on in the other room and take breaks when I sreen those. Ah, movies!

    For the holidaze and family I screen Last Picture Show by Bogdonovich. A beauty in Texas. Novel and screenplay by same author Larry McMurtry. Genius. I could go on forever on this subject...being an addict.

  4. My name is Margaret, and if it's in black and white I've seen it a dozen times. At least. Also, musicals. All musicals. I love musicals. You won't even watch Scrooge with Albert Finney? What's up with that?

  5. My favorite movieat this time of year: the relatively obscure (for some reason) "Come to the Stable" starring Loretta Young, Celeste Holm, Elsa Lanchester, Regis Toomey and Hugh Marlow. Great, heartwarming stuff with a few laughs and a few tears thrown in for good measure.

  6. This crowd has no discipline, but I'm not surprised. We're talking syrupy Christmas movies, and you come back with Hitchcock, for god's sake, and Alain Delon, Pasolini. I appoint Margaret and Ann as facilitators from now on -- at least they can stay on topic. (yes, yes, Delon is beautiful, Singing in the Rain a classic, and Ms H left off Senso. the Last Picture Show, are you insane? and Margaret, if we're talking Finney in general, Two For the Road. PPIO, I can't believe I've missed a Christmas movie with that cast. Must see.)

  7. WTF? Waddya trying to say, we're all a bunch of holiday perverts? What's wrong with Hitch? My gad woman! Scrooge with Albert eFing Finney? Hello?

    Miss H loves David Lean's Great Expectations. DON'T say that's not Chrismassy thing. Holy Snow IN Aladena!

  8. I'm gonna report Mrs O'Looney 2 Miss Havisham.
    And, if that doesn't work, then, to PIO's favorite - Dr Burchard!

  9. The Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim!

    A Christmas Story...we were original followers of the cult...I've pronounced it "FraGEEELay" since 1983...

    A Charlie Brown Christmas? No? You can't beat the pathos, people...

    As for musicals, besetting sin...but all I have to counter with is, "Holiday Inn" (and I don't mean the crappy hotel chain) and "Mame"...these are good entry level amusements.

    Ah, for more time to watch my dvds...

  10. I can play. The Homecoming.

  11. I usually hate musicals, but there's something about White Christmas that melts me faster than the snowflakes.

    And I'm a sucker for It's a Wonderful Life.

  12. Mary Kathleen O'LooneyDecember 17, 2008 at 11:59 PM

    "It's A Wonderful Life" for crying out loud.

    (a lot of people left half finished cocktails around here)

    Yeah! Waddayah ya say about that?

  13. Can I make a movie recomondation? The Painted Veil. This movie came and vent in the theatres without anyone noticing. What a pity.

    My favorite Christmas movies... A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story.

  14. My name is Virginia ( my friends call me VIrg) and I do musicals. Bring on Bing and company and let's have a little White Christmas action. Oh and I also have a Grinch addiction. I prefer the orginal version but will tolerate others. And what's a good Christmas without Ebeneezer and old Marl.

    Thanks for the photo CG. He still makes me weak in the knees. ( or maybe that's just my age. Hard to tell.)
    PS The toast points are chewy but not all that bad. Got any vin blanc to wash them down with?

  15. It's a wonderful post.

    The original Grinch with Boris Karloff! I have a copy! Except it's on video and I don't have a VCR anymore.

    David Lean's Great Expectations, you are so right Miss H.

    It's a Wonderful Life. I keep thinking one of these years I'll get tired of it, but I never do. the performances are so rich, the script is so good. It's always like seeing it for the first time.

    And any old Bing thing, especially if Rosemary Clooney is in it.

  16. Petrea you're on girl. I have a VCR that is working until one of the grandchildren crams The Grinch in backwards and then it's all over.

    A.H., you want to talk southern cooking? Whooooeeeee, I can smoke some ribs and make a mean potato salad. Get yourself down here and have some. I'll have just a splash more vin blanc before I leave if that's ok.

    PS I want to add I'm a Christmas Carol purist and really only like the old BW that's kind of grainy and scratchy. Don't even think about Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol and all that foolishness.

  17. I'm a shameless film addict. And yeah, I can talk Rashoman, the French New Wave and Bergman with the best of my former film school buds but I also happily admit to being able to recide Singing in the Rain word for word, and even know some of the dance moves of Donald O'Connor.

    You want Christmas treacle? How about Meet Me in St. Louis? Try not to cry when Judy Garland sings Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas! Others?

    The Bishop's Wife
    Bells of St Mary's
    White Christmas, of course, but also Holiday Inn
    Miracle on 34th Street
    Penny Serenede
    Any of the Andy Rooney films ("We can use my father's barn to put on the best darn show this town has ever seen!") (Sorry, I'm getting carried away.)

  18. You folks, clearly my betters in all possible ways, forgot The Red Shoes?

  19. Virginia, I was looking for that version of "A Christmas Carol," but I don't know which one it was. 1938? Do you remember who was in it? I think that's the one but I'm not sure.

    The Red Shoes was the first play I ever acted in where people paid for tickets. DeKalb Community Theatre. I played Karen (not Karin), isn't that her name? A choreographer worked with me. I was a good actress but a terrible ballerina. All the other actors were old enough to drink. I was 12.

  20. KB, it is done, the dog is outta de doghouse - it is finished!

  21. How about Stanwych in that campy nod to domesticity: Christmas in Connecticut?

  22. Ah, I dream of a day/days/week that you speak of. The movie selection is just way to so-phfis-ti-kated! Old classics, odd classics, new classics. OK - I admit Grinch Who Stole ... is a must (we bought a DVD a couple yrs ago), and I can watch Bells of St. Mary's and It's a Wond. over & over. But my current corny holiday movie is Love, Actually. & I don't even like Hugh Grant that much. (And Miss H. is right about Larry McMurtry. Terms of Endearment. But the Lonesome Dove book & sequels/prequels are wonderful, as are his essays - Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen (with a photo on the cover that could be by US Elaine), In a Narrow Grave, Roads...)

    Now, who is Aurelia? Why can't I keep up with Miss H.? Petrea was in a real play at 12?

  23. And 12 is awfully young to play that part, if it's the same as in the movie. Hmm, need more information from our child star.

    Yes Laurie, I included CIC on my list. It's not very good, but Christmas movies don't have to be.

    I love a well turned essay, Tash. I'll seek out this collection.

    Come to think of it WW, even my dad liked A Christmas Story.

    And finally, Great Expectations (lean) one of the best novels to movies ever. Jaggers, Joe, Magwich, Miss H, Aged P -- I love them all. Why not for Christmas?

  24. Cutting out the volume while watching the Misfits is as close to a pure religious experience as some of will ever attain.

  25. At first I was disoriented by the photo in that I don't smoke a pipe but then realized - imagine my surprise - it was not a photograph of me but of someone who could be my virtual double. If I was to ever to become a movie actor, he could be my stand-in.

  26. Karin, I have to say I agree with your parents. I think we were so inundated by Christmas movies at some point [one December, "It's a Wonderful Life" was on at least once a day on one station or another for the entire month here in Chicago] that I just couldn't take it anymore. That said, "Miracle on 34th Street" came on recently and the opening segment of Mr. Claus walking down a New York street [in disguise, of course] and talking with the shopkeeper absolutely charmed me. As long as we're admitting stuff here, that was more because of it being New York than anything. I quickly turned it off.

    But if you're looking for a non-Christmas Cary Grant film, you'd be hard pressed to do better than "Charade." Grant's hair is gray in the 1963 movie, but he's dashing as ever. And Audrey Hepburn is gorgeous and elegant and, well, Audrey Hepburn.

  27. Alistair Sims in the Christmas Carol...can't beat that. Except for Charlie Brown's Christmas which is my favorite all time favorite. Teh worst Xmas movie: A Christmas Story with that little blonde haired kid I just wanna strangle.

  28. Ken Mac I sort of agree; I didn't love "A Christmas Story." But Darren McGavin was brilliant as the father. Should have won an Oscar. Like wolfwatcher, I still pronounce it "fraGEEElay."

  29. FYI - "The Man Who Came To Dinner" is on TCM right this minute.

    All my love,

    Archibald Leach

  30. Watched "The Bishop's Wife" tonight. I had forgotten a lot! Sappy old thing. I loved it.