THE FAVORITE FOURSOME BLOGATHON – Da Big Finish

We had some no-shows on Day 2, but we ended our blogathon of famous foursomes with a finale of finesse. So join us for the big closing number, as we present

Click here to link to the entries from Day 1. For today’s finale, click on each individual blog’s name to link to their entries (except for our first entrant, for which you’ll need to click on each of his entries’ names).

Movierob

First off, Movierob gets our “Blogathoner of the Year” Award for contributing entries on five, count ’em, 5 movies: The first, second, and third movies of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy; and the movie versions/extensions of the TV series Sex and the City and The A-Team.

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Caftan Woman sings her praises of the close-harmony vocal quartet The Hi-Lo’s.

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Tranquil Dreams shows us that friendship is in the genes (or is it jeans?) of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

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Realweegiemidget Reviews examines the lives of four people who want love but are afraid to get Closer.

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An assassination threat on a former agent leaves him and three of his peers seeing Red, as chronicled by thoughtsallsorts.

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Chevy Chase takes the concept of family vay-cay’s to a new extreme in National Lampoon’s Vacation, whose itinerary is well-detailed by Moon in Gemini.

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Pure Entertainment Preservation Society details how a governess becomes the center of a widower’s family in Adam Had Four Sons.

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And finally, what would a foursomes blogathon be without a tribute to TV’s best-known Miami seniors? Once Upon a Screen offers a touch of nostalgia (and grey) for “The Golden Girls.”

Our thanks to all of the wonderful bloggers who contributed such enjoyable entries, and to this blogathon’s followers who enjoyed them. Y’all come back now, ya hear?

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THE 1961 BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

We received some snappy entries about movies from the year 1961, so sit back and enjoy

Day1Recap

Click on the individual name of each blog to link to their entry.

ComeSeptember

Rock Hudson deals with some unruly teenagers who have taken over his Italian villa in Come September, as reviewed by Love Letters to Old Hollywood.

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Thoughtsallsorts brings us Audrey Hepburn at her most charming in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Innocents

For a movie about a governess trying to protect her young charges, Realweegiemidget Reviews finds The Innocents very, er, haunting.

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God is silent, but writer-director Ingmar Bergman isn’t in Through a Glass Darkly, whose lack of resolution The Stop Button found frustrating.

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Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe come to grips with their inner conflicts in their final film, The Misfits, critiqued by Silver Screenings.

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James Cagney deals with Coca-Cola and the Cold War in Billy Wilder’s comedy One, Two, Three, whose virtues are enumerated by Caftan Woman.

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Whimsically Classic is charmed by two versions of Hayley Mills in the Disney comedy The Parent Trap.

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Movierob is less than impressed by Kirk Douglas and Co. in the courtroom drama Town Without Pity.

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And finally, your faithful correspondent discusses Stan Laurel’s 1961 Honorary Oscar, as well as the Bugs Bunny-Wile E. Coyote cartoon Compressed Hare.

And there are still two days to go in our salute to ’61, so keep us bookmarked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG (1967) – Charlie Chaplin’s final film

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The following is my second of two entries in the Then and Now (Now and Then) Blogathon, being co-hosted by the blogs Realweegiemidget Reviews and Thoughts All Sorts from Nov. 12-15, 2017. You can click here for more details, but the main rules are that a participating blogger must choose:

  1. an actor or actress, and review two movies in which they appeared;
  2. a director or producer, and review two movies in which they appeared; or
  3. a film or TV series that has been rebooted or remade, and review those.

Essentially, I have chosen both 1 and 2, as I am reviewing two feature films directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin; my entry for #1 can be found here. (I must confess that in the case of # 2, Chaplin appeared only in a seconds-long cameo. Otherwise, the criteria fit both entries.) The two entries come from wildly varied points in Chaplin’s film career — the first, when he was at the height of his creative and producing powers; the second; his movie swan song, long after much of those powers had been hindered by age and circumstances.countess_mpb111

You probably have to be a die-hard Chaplin buff to appreciate anything in A Countess from Hong Kong…so let’s get all of the negativity out of the way first.

The making of the movie has been thoroughly documented as clashes of personalities: Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren, Charlie Chaplin and his son Sydney, and most notably, Chaplin and Brando. The movie received much worldwide publicity, but its unashamed old-fashioned-ness was bound to doom it in a year that saw cinematic breakthroughs such as The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde.

And, truth be told, much of the movie’s poor reputation did not go unearned. The story, which Chaplin had initially conceived three decades earlier as a vehicle for Paulette Goddard, concerns women of former royalty whose circumstances had reduced them to being dance-hall women or prostitutes (though the movie only lightly hints at the latter).

Sophia Loren plays Natascha, a former White Russian countess reduced to such penury. Thanks to a rich benefactor, Natascha enjoys a single evening of wining and dining with Ogden Mears (Marlon Brando), an up-and-coming American diplomat. The following morning, after his ship has left Hong Kong, Ogden discovers Natascha hiding in the closet of his stateroom. Natascha has decided to become a stowaway to the United States and has made Ogden a most unwilling accomplice to her plan.

The majority of Chaplin’s filmography speaks for itself. But probably from Limelight on, you have to allow for some definite valleys in Chaplin’s movies before you ever reach the peaks. In Countess, that benefit-of-the-doubt accounts for its first hour.

Chaplin finds his farcical door-slamming routine, where Natascha must go into hiding whenever a stranger knocks on Ogden’s door, far funnier than we the audience do. Chaplin ladles on his score very thickly, as though he thinks the music is emoting better than his actors are – and he might be right. Loren seems game for anything, but Brando comes across as sullen, at least for the movie’s first half or so. And when the duo embrace passionately right at the movie’s one-hour mark, we really have to tell ourselves they’re in love, because they themselves haven’t given us much of a sign.

With all of that said, if you can hang on that long through the movie, it finally picks up steam in the last 45 minutes. After the movie beats us to death with the fact that Natascha has no papers or passport, Ogden and his associate Harvey (Chaplin’s son Sydney, in the movie’s liveliest performance) decide to “marry off” Natascha to Ogden’s valet Hudson (Patrick Cargill) to make Natascha an official American citizen. The movie finally grabs hold in the scene where Ogden first relays the plan to Hudson and explains it to him as though it was just another task for Hudson to perform in the course of his workday. Cargill’s understated reactions, here and for the rest of the movie, are priceless.

Once the movie finally finds its footing, it delivers all sorts of comic wonders: a terrific bit where Sydney, in deadpan imitation of his father, steals a man’s martini out from under him; Hudson’s bedtime routine, acted out in front of a double-taking Natascha; and best of all, a grand five minutes from Margaret Rutherford as a dotty but assertive old lady. (Monty Python cultists will enjoy seeing Python sidekick Carol Cleveland in an early role as Rutherford’s nurse.)

Chaplin’s final four features suffer for spotty pacing and scenes that ought to have been severely edited or removed outright. A Countess from Hong Kong is easily the worst offender, and it is probably this debit that has caused so many moviegoers to give up on this film. But it would be sad to think that Chaplin’s final film was too repugnant to endure, and while it starts out as such a test, it eventually finishes Chaplin’s movie career on a poignant note.

MY FAVORITE MOVIE THREESOME BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

A full 50% of our blogathon entrants have submitted their entrants already — proving that, for blogathons that slap the competition silly, you can’t beat the

Day1Recap

Click on the name of each individual blog to read their entry.

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Pure Entertainment Preservation Society explains how Jane Wyman captures the attention of Three Guys Named Mike.

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Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg recapture the hearts of moviegoers (and the girl who is their charge) in Three Men and a Little Lady, as reviewed by Realweegiemidget Reviews.

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ThoughtsAllSorts shows how the love triangle of an insecure publishing employee makes for fascinating reading in Bridget Jones’s Diary.

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And finally, your faithful correspondent can’t resist applying pop psychology to the classic cartoon trio of Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto.

We still have four blogathon entries to go, so keep us bookmarked. If our movie-trio blogathon was any edgier, we’d get arrested for it!

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