February Film Round up

6 Degrees Holiday Film News: The Armchair Film Fest for December!

Armchair Film Fest
            6 Degrees of Film

This month on Turner Classic Movies, I’m seeing a slew of favorites for those of us who love the idea of the “Armchair Film Fest.” I like to record several films from favorite directors and actors that are shown in one block to watch during the month. Last month it was Cary Grant, this month we are back to Hitchcock and another favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Bogey is in “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn in this 1954 comedy, as well as the classic Casablanca from 1942.

Hitchcock is also prominent in December, with some of his best work featured in Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, and Marnie with the late, great Sean Connery.

    Sean Connery stars in Marnie

Christmas Season

For the Christmas season, there is the 6 Degree staple: The Shop Around the Corner. The reason it’s so apropos for 6 Degrees is that the film has been remade three times. The Shop around the Corner is the original and the remake with Judy Garland is called In the Good Old Summertime and was set as a musical in 1949. Finally, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan remade it with “You’ve Got Mail

        Bogey in Casablanca

6 Degrees of Film has some recommended posts from our own archives to recommend this month. We have a post on Casablanca, one on Lawrence of Arabia and on the legacy of James Dean in film. (Paul Newman and Steve McQueen films are both showing this month!)

Comedy

Laurel & Hardy
           The Armchair Film Fest

There is a bonanza of comedy gold this month (also on TCM),  with a full filmography for the funniest comic duo in history, Laurel & Hardy. There’s the first unofficial appearance of the pair in Putting Pants on Philip all the way through to the fifties when they were both past their prime. Some of the recommended records are:

  • Laughing Gravy
  • Putting Pants on Philip
  • The Music Box
  • Way out West
  •  Brats
  • Our Relations
  • Towed in a Hole (I love this play on words as Stan Laurel was English and this is from their well-known breakfast Dish: “Toad in a Hole” which is sausages cooked in egg!)

Other comedies of note for December on TCM include Ma & Pa Kettle at Home with Marjorie Main and The Long, Long Trailer, starring Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz in a  1954 film made during their long running hit TV show: I Love Lucy. The afore-mentioned “Sabrina’ is also hilariously funny, one of Bogey’s few comedies.

For those who may tire of Laurel & Hardy, there is one of Charlie Chaplin’s best silent films, The Gold Rush with Charlie in a cabin in Alaska where he is searching for gold while dreaming of a saloon girl and fighting to survive the harsh winter conditions.

Westerns

The Westerner is being shown on Dec 18th; Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan star in this Western from 1940. It’s a must-see for all those who love Cooper and Westerns. I particularly like this one as it isn’t shown as frequently as later films with Cooper. Walter Brennan excels as Judge Roy Bean, the man famous for his love of the theatre star Lillie Langtry.

John Wayne stars in a Western directed by John Ford from 1940, The Three Godfathers.  It’s more of a spiritual departure for Wayne, who is one of three outlaws that learn the meaning of sacrifice when they become the guardians of a newborn baby and find themselves stranded in a barren desert. Three Godfathers was also made with Walter Brennan as one of the three outlaws in 1936.

Strong Women: Pioneers in Hollywood

Thin Man Series
Myna Loy in The Thin Man series

6 Degrees is always interested in highlighting performances from pioneering strong women in Hollywood. This month, there is one of my favorites, Myrna Loy, in the entire film fest of The Thin Man series shown on New Years Eve. You really cannot go wrong by ringing in the New Year with Nick and Nora Charles, the sleuths starring in an entire Thin Man movie marathon on New Years Eve. Other strong women highlighted include the great Marjorie Main, so funny in Ma & Pa Kettle at home. There is Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter as well  as Guess who’s Coming to Dinner with Spencer Tracy. I feel the latter one is dated, but it’s worth seeing, as the climate of the times made this a particularly controversial subject of a black man wanting to marry a white woman. I love The Lion in Winter, but like The Outlaw Josey Wales and a few Cary Grant movies, I can’t watch it all the way through as I know all the dialogue! Spoiler alert: I’m a huge spoiler!

There is also some interesting Turner Classic shows for those of us who love film and film criticism. Film buffs will know of the work of Pauline Kael, not only a strong woman writing in a man’s world and excelling, but also a damn fine film critic. She is featured in The Art of Pauline Kael, made in 2018. Along with it, another interesting piece from 2009 is For the Love of Movies: The story of American Film Criticism.

The James Dean Legacy in Film

The Thomas Crown Affair from 1968 stars Steve McQueen and Cool Hand Luke features Paul Newman.  These two films illustrate part of my long-running theory turned essay: The James Dean Legacy in film. Both these actors inherited the mantle of ‘cool’ and began their careers about the same time that James Dean did in the late fifties. So many of their later roles were in keeping with the type of loner/rebel character that James Dean was known for and became his legacy.

6 Degrees Magazine on Flipboard

This week in 6 Degrees Magazine, there’s an interesting discussion on the history of the Marvel Movie Cinematic Universe on RogerEbert.com.  Also in the magazine, several posts talk about how the studios are still reeling from the most difficult period in the history of the film business.  Warner Bros. studios just announced that all of their new films will debut in online streaming format through 2021.  Plus you’ll find several reviews of “Mank” talking about the writer who was credited with writing Citizen Kane. We’ve also talked about this on 6 Degrees.

By the way, there are a couple of films of note that will debut this month. The films include Soul from Pixar, along with Wonder Woman 1984, both to open on Christmas Day.

The Post Covid Future of Film

6 Degrees
                        6 Degrees

And finally film fans, this year has been a difficult one for those of us who loved the art of cinema and the practice of going to the movies. I don’t know when it will be safe to go into the movie theatre, but I do know that that is where I will be if and when the time is right. There is no contest in terms of the experience of watching a film in a darkened theater where you go to experience cinema ‘at the movies.’ Many of my fondest memories are times I would spend just watching classic movies on the big screen! I know in the future there will be art house films and retrospectives where movies will be shown, but here’s hoping in the New Year that we will be able to preserve some of our movie chains and the industry of film to help cheer us in the New “Post-Covid” world! Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year-until next time..See you at the movies!-ML

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