Archive for James Stewart

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by cdascher

You Can't Take It With You - PosterThe best part of Christmas, once you’re too old to get toys, is It’s A Wonderful Life. But what about the rest of the year? Wouldn’t it be great if the cast and director of America’s timeless holiday classic made another movie, one suitable for non-Christmas occasions? They did, eight years before It’s A Wonderful Life, and it won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Anthony Kirby is a brutally avaricious Wall Street executive during the Great Depression, delighted that an imminent business deal will not just bring a huge profit, but crush the competition in the process. The only glitch: Grandpa Vanderhof, the patriarch of an extended family of eccentrics under one roof who have forsaken the pursuit of wealth. With no interest in money, the cheerful Vanderhof refuses to sell out at any price. Meanwhile, Kirby hopes to groom his spoiled son, Tony, into an executive himself. Tony’s main interest, however, is falling in love with his secretary Alice – whose grandfather is none other than Vanderhof. While the elder Kirby plots to acquire the property and complete the deal, Tony plots to convince his snobbish parents that Alice is a suitable fiancee for their son.

Ah, Grandpa Vanderhof! I loved him from the first moment he entered the story. Plodding, deliberate, self-possessed, doddering – truth be told, he reminded me in many ways of my own beloved Opa. He’s a mensch of the best kind, beloved by his neighbors for Continue reading

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THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (1952)

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2013 by cdascher

ImageThe Greatest Show On Earth? That’s a pretty bold move, giving your movie a name like that. Can it deliver? I know everyone has been waiting expectantly. Thanks for hanging in there. We started the movie, but had to take an intermission that lasted a month while both Katy and I moved to a new house.

The titular show is the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the story’s setting. Brad Braden is the business-minded circus manager who brings hires trapeze artist The Great Sebastian as the star performer. This doesn’t sit well with his girlfriend Holly, also a trapeze artist. Sebastian is a good natured narcissist and womanizer and a love triangle develops between the three. Although Holly and Sebastian are developing feelings for each other, the clash of their egos generates an intense rivalry in the circus rings. Meanwhile, Jimmy Stewart is hanging around as Buttons, a clown who never takes off his makeup and darts his eyes around when asked about his past. And there are some hoods running crooked games on the midway and they try to destroy the circus. And someone falls off their trapeze. And other disasters happen. And the lions get out of their cage. A lot of things happen, the movie was two and a half hours long.

First off, I have to acknowledge that we’ve had our own plot giveaway here – it is true that Mouse and I have entered into cohabitation. Perhaps you have not known until now that your bloggers were romantically entangled – but the story arc is now in Red Carpet Roulette for all Continue reading