Edward Everett Horton

Edward Everett Horton

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Holiday Review


Good
Hit-and-miss Hepburn-Grant production, released the same year as Bringing Up Baby but to a considerably less receptive public. That's because many of the jokes in Holiday fall flat, and while Grant has his characteristic grace and charm, the story he's put into with Hepburn (more earnestly grating here than director George Cukor should have allowed) is on the tepid side (involving a love triangle with Grant and two rich sisters). It all comes off as very stagey (it's based on a play) and not very funny at all. Safely skippable unless you're a big fan of the leads.

Lost Horizon Review


Extraordinary
The weirdest film by Frank Capra, this epic was adapted from James Hilton's bestselling novel about a plane full of passengers stranded in Tibet who are brought to the imaginary utopia Shangri-la. (Hilton's sensational fantasy was inspired by mountaineering trips to the Himalayas -- pretty much unknown then -- and it probably still influences how people in the West think about Tibet.)

Lost Horizon is a strange but haunting mixture of drama, long expository passages, and romance, with lavish, Xanadu-like sets set against stock footage of icy mountains -- but the performance of Ronald Colman carries the movie. Colman's character is a Brit who decides he doesn't mind hanging with the Buddhists and enjoying the quiet life, but some of his companions are unhappy in the worker's paradise and debate whether to try to escape. Sensuality is provided by the young Jane Wyatt, later the matron on TV's Father Knows Best (Wyatt's character is even shown in a distant frontal nude scene, a wink at the Hays Code).

Continue reading: Lost Horizon Review

Holiday Review


Good
Hit-and-miss Hepburn-Grant production, released the same year as Bringing Up Baby but to a considerably less receptive public. That's because many of the jokes in Holiday fall flat, and while Grant has his characteristic grace and charm, the story he's put into with Hepburn (more earnestly grating here than director George Cukor should have allowed) is on the tepid side (involving a love triangle with Grant and two rich sisters). It all comes off as very stagey (it's based on a play) and not very funny at all. Safely skippable unless you're a big fan of the leads.

Lost Horizon Review


Very Good
A classic book and a classic film -- make sure you look for the full-length (132 minute) restored version, which features still photographs where there was no known print to match up to the audio. Bizarre methodology, yet strangely, it works.

Top Hat Review


Excellent
Perhaps the definitive Fred & Ginger movie, Top Hat is a story of love and longing and... of course, dancin' galore! Some of the famed couple's greatest moments are on display here: "Dancing Cheek to Cheek" as a couple, and most memorably, Astaire's "Top Hat & Tails" number wherein he uses his cane to "gun down" a lineup of dancers, one by one, his tap shoes serving as the crack of the weapon.

The plot is thin, as is common in 1930s musicals: Astaire is a dancer that's just busting at the seams with his art. He shows off some moves one night in his apartment (and what moves they are, making excellent use of the props in the room), only this annoys the hell out of the woman (Rogers) living downstairs. It's one of the few times that a musical actually makes reference to the fact that it's not normal to break into song and dance whenever the mood strikes you, though of course, eventually, Rogers gets in on the act herself.

Continue reading: Top Hat Review

Edward Everett Horton

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