Mixed bag: A Summer Place (1959), Midnight (1939), The Lady Eve (1941), Happy Go Lovely (1951)

Originally published on recollective.tumblr.com, January 13, 2012

Watched January 8, 2012

A Summer Place (1959): 5/5; When I see the name “Sandra Dee” attached to a film, I expect something pretty fluffy. As much as I love her, most of her roles were very light entertainment – cute, fun films that are highly enjoyable to watch but wouldn’t hold up under harsh scrutiny. This film is, however, is absolutely CRAZY. I was particularly blown away by Constance Ford’s performance as Molly’s(/Sandra Dee’s) overbearing mother. I found myself wishing her to get punched in the jaw — or worse — throughout most of the film, which is a tell-tale sign of an effective performance. It speaks volumes when an actor can make myself or any other viewer hate their character with such a passion. Furthermore, having seen A Summer Place described as a “teen romance,” I was not expecting something even remotely intense or emotionally gripping. You can expect drama with teen romance films, but it is often an overplayed and petty type of drama that doesn’t have much of an emotional impact on the viewer. That was certainly not the case with this film. I was really surprised, in the best way, by the A Summer Place as a whole.

Midnight (1939): 5/5; Only one word exists to perfectly describe this film: HILARIOUS! This is probably my favorite new-to-me film that I’ve watched this year, and contains what is now one of my favorite scenes of all time (which you can probably guess if you look at my “caps” tag, but I won’t give it away here). The DVD version that I watched was accompanied by a very interesting introduction by TCM host Robert Osborne, who outlined the roadblocks faced during production. Given all of the problems, it is quite spectacular that they ended up with such a wonderful film. Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche both give fantastic performances with near-perfect comedic timing, as do the rest of the cast.

Watched January 9, 2012

The Lady Eve (1941): 4/5; I was really excited to watch this, because I unexpectedly had time for a mid-day movie at one of the campus computer labs (thank you, Netflix and my sister’s work schedule), and it was my twenty-fifth film of the year! I found it to be quite enjoyable, though I feel like it didn’t fully capture me as much as it could have. To be fair, I was under severe attack of the first-day-of-the-semester jitters, and a bit distracted as a result; I’ll post a more detailed review when I feel that I can fully appreciate and react to the film, without the plague of my nerves getting in the way!

Watched January 10, 2012

Happy Go Lovely (1951): 2.5/5; Let me begin by saying that the version of this film on Netflix is ten kinds of awful visually (or at least it is on my laptop, haha) and probably does not do the film justice at all. Technological woes aside, Vera-Ellen is adorable as usual, though I still don’t see the spark of a great screen star in her. The role of Ivy in On the Town was undoubtedly a much more successful performance for her. (I will forever compare everything to On the Town because it is perfect and adorable and I am Hildy in disguise.) The same goes for this film as a whole — it’s cute, but it doesn’t have that special “spark” that I like to feel when I watch a film that I know I’m going to love seeing over and over again.

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