Charles Coburn

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The Lady Eve Review


Excellent
It's just not even a fair fight, and fortunately writer/director Preston Sturges knows that. Barbara Stanwyck could have poor little Henry Fonda for breakfast, and in Sturges' blithely astringent comedy The Lady Eve, she does just that. Fonda, as hapless rich kid Charles Pike, puts up some resistance to Stanwyck, international card sharp and grifter extraordinaire Jean Harrington, but it's really no contest -- he knows he's doomed to be won over by her charms, as the audience is, and ultimately everyone is the happier for it.

Sturges wrote for women like few other screenwriters ever have, even in our supposedly more advanced times. His heroines have a welcome tendency towards toughness, clarity of mind, sharpened tongues, devastating wit, and the ability to wear smashing evening wear without looking the least bit fragile. The remarkable Stanwyck is a fantastic creation as Harrington, able to think (and speak) circles around everybody in any given room, but still retaining the heart to fall madly for nebbishy Pike.

Continue reading: The Lady Eve Review

The Devil And Miss Jones Review


Excellent
Wow, that title sure sounds like a porn movie, doesn't it? (The Devil in Miss Jones came out in 1972.) Of course, this one isn't adult fare, and in fact the devil doesn't even make an appearance in the film. The misleading title actually refers to a department store owner, J.P. Merrick (a masterful Charles Coburn, who never really got his due), who goes undercover in his own store to root out union organizers. Along the way he finds love, friendship (with Jean Arthur's Mary Jones), and a surprisingly funny series of events. The sole dud in the film: Robert Cummings, as Mary's boyfriend/union ringleader, whose whining and soul-searching nearly wreck the whole thing. It's supposed to be a comedy, Bob!

The Lady Eve Review


Excellent
Remarkably sophisticated for a film 60 years old, The Lady Eve is another fine flick about life and love courtesy of Preston Sturges, this time with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda as unlikely lovers meeting aboard a cruise ship. He's an adventurer back from a year in the Amazon, she's a spunky con artist. Sturges sure knows how to set up the screwball, and his comic timing here is impeccable. The scene with Stanwyck's "father" (a fellow con) in a fully-cheating card game is a highlight.

Heaven Can Wait (1943) Review


Weak
The premise at first seems quite a nice one. Henry Van Cleeve (Don Ameche, looking prematurely aged but still dapper in evening wear) comes down a staircase into a cavernous, Art Deco-inspired office where he is being interviewed by a dandy fellow referred to as His Excellency (Laird Cregar). Pretty soon it's clear Henry is actually dead, His Excellency is in fact Satan, and Henry is, for reasons that it will take the rest of the movie to explain, lobbying to be granted admission to Hades. Pressed for grievous offences or mortal sins, Henry can only say, "My whole life was one continuous misdemeanor."

Putting his lead foot first, director Ernst Lubitsch saddles his story with a script that never properly uses its complete potential. Henry feels that as part of his interview process, he must go through the story of his life, which would have generally been a decent idea, except that he led a pretty uninspiring one. Growing up in the mid-to-late 19th century, Henry is swaddled in privilege from the get-go. The scion of a wealthy family residing in a Fifth Avenue mansion, he becomes a general ne'er do well at quite a young age, something which the film (or at least his recounting) tries to blame on the effects of the women in his life (mother = too controlling, French maid = too permissive). By the time Ameche appears again as his younger self in the 1890s, his playboy ways have just been (supposedly) swept away by his having fallen in love with a beautiful woman whose name he doesn't know. Problem is, when he finally finds out the identity of the woman - Martha Strabel (Gene Tierney), of the Kansas City Strabels, who made their fortune in the meatpacking business - it turns out she's already betrothed to his stiff and deadly dull cousin Albert (Allyn Joslyn). Being of thin moral fiber anyway, Henry elopes with her. His carousing appears hard to put behind him, however, and 10 years later, Martha is ready for a divorce.

Continue reading: Heaven Can Wait (1943) Review

Monkey Business Review


Very Good
Mr. Oxley's been complaining about her "punctuation," so she makes sure she's at her desk by nine. That's about the sum of Marilyn Monroe's contribution to Monkey Business, a screwball comedy (made about 10 years after the real end of the screwball era) featuring a kooky scientist, his patient wife, a brazen and dippy secretary, and of course a chimpanzee who's really calling the shots.

The plot involves the hunt for a youth formula by Barnaby Fulton (Cary Grant), which he thinks he has discovered when a self-administered sample drives him to do such crazy things as buy a new car and crash it into a chain link fence with his boss's secretary (Monroe) riding shotgun. The only problem is that the sample hasn't done anything; it's the water, spiked by the chimp when no one was looking.

Continue reading: Monkey Business Review

Charles Coburn

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'Modern Family' Casts TV's First Transgender Child Actor

'Modern Family' Casts TV's First Transgender Child Actor

Jackson Millarker will star in episode ‘A Stereotypical Day’ set to air in the US on Wednesday evening.

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'Will And Grace' Comes Back For Mini Episode To Voice Support For Hillary Clinton

The cast had teased something big was coming and all was revealed on Monday night.

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Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

The rapper teams up with Apple Music on his latest project.

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