Saturday, July 2, 2011


I really enjoyed posting two straight weeks of blogs on Hollywood films from the 1930's, and so for the 1940's I'm going to up the ante and try for three weeks worth. Looking at titles I have left from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, this shouldn't be a problem. As before, I’ll list my expectations for each film going in and state whether these expectations are reached or not. And I’ll once again give each film my Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award because there was such a bounty of great supporting performers from this period and I just like doing it.

Palm Beach Story (1942):
Expectations: I knew it featured the director-star team (Preston Sturges, Joel McCrea) of one of my favorite movies from the 1940’s, Sullivan’s Travels.

After viewing: I watched this movie after watching about ten Ingmar Bergman movies in a row. (If you aren’t familiar with Bergman, he doesn’t specialize in screwball comedies). The contrast made it seem like the dialogue in Palm Speech Story was speeded up like a 33 1/3 album turned up to 45*.. Anyway, the script was very funny, but as I said, it was so quickly paced, I found myself backing up the tape to get some of the dialogue I missed the first time through. My favorite line goes something like, “Nothing is forever…except for Roosevelt**.” Also look fast for clever sequence going on behind the opening credits.

*Yes, I do realize vinyl references may appear dated.
**Line only funny pre-1945.

And the Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award goes to …Frank Faylen. Seems strange to award someone with just one scene in a movie that has such impressive second bananas as Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee, William Demarest, and Franklin Pangborn in it. But when I saw Frank driving that cab halfway through the movie it foreshadowed the cab he would drive four years later in It’s a Wonderful Life and who doesn’t love It’s a Wonderful Life?

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