Rebecca (1940)

Hi.  So, I’m in a pickle.  I’ve been posting these blogs every Monday at midnight then live tweeting these movies Saturday nights. And mostly, no one is showing up.  Lots of people said they were interested in watching older movies.  They answered a poll on what day and time they liked.  But I’m only getting one, or two, or zero people showing up.  

I’ve been putting off announcing the September schedule, because Adam and I are probably going to take a trip, and because I have to ask myself, why do I bother?  Im not getting any feedback on this blog, nor has anyone on Twitter asked me about things.  Clearly I don’t have an audience.  So, I’m taking the hint.  If you’d like to watch Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie with me on Saturday, let me know.  I’m on Twitter @FGFeatures or @K8Met, or by all means, comment below.  

Kate of Feel Good Features

Little Women (1949)

Saturday, August 19, at 8pm Eastern we watch the 1949 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women.  Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, and adapted by Andrew Solt, Sarah Y. Mason, Victor Heerman, with uncredited work by Sally Benson, the movie features an all-star cast, shown above.

The story is probably familiar to most viewers.  The March sisters are tomboy writer Jo, perfect Meg, vain artist Amy, and shy musician Beth.  This version swaps the birth order of the two youngest, so that Margaret O’Brien (an actress famed for her ability to cry on command) could play Beth, the doomed sister.  Dr. March, the girls’ father is away in the Civil War, and while the family has little money, Marmee, the mother, still looks after her poorer neighbors and is generally a saint.  Next door, their rich old neighbor Mr. Laurence raises his grandson Laurie.  

This movie was cavalcade of stars when it was made. June Allyson, though 31 and married, often played younger roles, and she was a popular girl-next-door figure in many movies in the mid-40s. Janet Leigh was a new face in Hollywood (this was her sixth film), this role launched her for starring roles. Margaret O’Brien was already a veteran child actress, famed for her tears and dramatic acting. Peter Lawford had been acting since he was 8, and was at the height of his fame. Elizabeth Taylor. I’ve buried the lede. This was her last film playing a girl; unlike many actors, Taylor never had a career slump as she pivoted to more adult roles.
                                    

Little Women is one of those stories people ache to tell again and again.  There was a popular earlier version starring Katharine Hepburn in 1933, and Winona Ryder starred in a later adaptation in 1994.  I find it hard to compare them.  Katharine’s Jo is probably my favorite, though it’s very stagey, but Margaret O’Brien’s Beth is impossible to beat (apologies to Claire Danes in the ’94 version).  Susan Sarandon is the definitive Marmee.  Don’t get me started on Gabriel Byrne as Dr. Bhaer 😍🔥.  Perhaps you have some ideas on the various adaptations?  Please share!  Who would you cast in a new adaptation?  

I DVR-ed the movie from Turner Classic Movies a few weeks ago, but if you missed that, you can find the 1949 Little Women on Amazon,  $2.99 to rent, $9.99 to buy digital, $26.99 for the single DVD, but $18.46 packaged with 3 other movies in TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Literary Romance.  The fact that two of the other films are Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, neither of which is romantic, is neither here nor there.  Alibris.com has used DVDs starting at $3.55, you may choose your seller to optimize the price/shipping charges to where you are.  

Looking forward to watching along with you Saturday, August 19th at 8pm Eastern. # FGFLT

All images from Google

 As always, comment below, or find me on Twitter @FGFeatures or @K8Met

Much Ado About Nothing

                                     

Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 8pm Eastern, we’ll be watching the 1993 movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.  Directed, adapted by and starring Kenneth Branagh, the all-star cast features Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves (yes, Keanu Reeves), Michael Keaton, Robert Sean Leonard, and the screen debut of Kate Beckinsale.  Filmed on location in Italy, the film is gorgeous.

The story is wildly over-complicated, the bad guys are given no motivation, and the good guys are criminally gullible, yet this is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays.  Why?  Because the dialog is snappy and the wordplay fierce between the accidental leads Beatrice and Benedick, played here by Thompson and Branagh.  Battle-of-the-sexes comedy has been around since ancient times and has yet to lose popularity.  Benedict and Beatrice fight until they inevitably fall in love, and the chaos of the plot leaves everything in jeopardy until the end, when everything comes right.  The main story is supposed to be the love story of Hero and Claudio, played by Beckinsale and Leonard, but no audience has ever believed that, causing many productions to add Beatrice and Benedick to other plays, Shakespearean or not.  

There is plenty in the story to debate, and we will, but I don’t want to hash that out until Saturday.  Please join me as we appreciate a founding honoree in the Romantic-Comedy Hall of Fame.  Plus!  Pretty dresses, and…are those leather pants?!? Gosh, look at that cast:

Where do I find this movie?

Well, you can rent it on Amazon Prime for $3.99, or buy a digital copy for $4.99.  The DVD will run you $7.99 & the Blu-ray $8.99.  I dvr-ed it when it played on cable a few weeks ago.  Alibris.com has it from $1.45 a copy, shipping charges will depend on your proximity to the seller you choose.  

I hope you can join us Saturday #FGFLT (Feel Good Features Live Tweet)!

Desk Set

                    

Saturday, August 5th, at 8pm Eastern, our first live-tweet movie will be the 1957 classic comedy Desk Set, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, co-starring Gig Young and Joan Blondell. The screenplay was written by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, who adapted the William Marchant stage play.  The movie was directed by Walter Lang.

The original play ran for 296 performances on Broadway.  I’m not sure a play that ran 37 weeks would get a movie adaptation these days. This was the eighth time Hepburn and Tracy were paired onscreen, the ninth and final would be ten years later, when they made Tracy’s last film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.  If the last name of the screenwriters sounds familiar, you might know of their daughters’ work.  Nora, Delia, Amy, and Hallie Ephron have all had careers writing, producing, and directing movies.  

The movie plot isn’t terribly complex. Set in the fictional Federal Broadcasting Company, all stories must be fact checked before being aired, keeping the Reference and Research Department busy.  An efficiency expert (pardon me, methods engineer) is hired to install the modern convenience of a computer.  Humor, misunderstanding, and romance ensue.  

Why does this film delight me?  If you’ve seen War Games, you know that computers existed before they could sit on your desk or in your hand.  But EMERAC, the computer in this movie, is behemoth. It must be fed thousands and thousands of punch cards filled with data, and to our modern eyes, it hardly seems worth it, but this is the march of technology, and I love it. 

In many Tracy & Hepburn movies, while the chemistry is crackling, and the dialog is snappy, there is a definite air of paternalism.  Katharine’s character may win many battles, but Spencer’s character is letting her, so assured is he of winning the war.  Here, she confounds him by being smart, and competent, and independent.  She isn’t forced to lower herself, and he doesn’t beat her, they choose each other.  I see the seeds of the Ephron daughters in their parents’ work.  It’s startlingly modern. He is a computer pioneer from MIT, but she is probably smarter, if she’d been able to get the same education. She embroiders, and wants to be married,  but has no intention of giving up her job when she does.  They eat together twice, and he provides the food both times. This couple will be a team, rather than a breadwinner and helpmeet. 

Gig Young plays a long-time beau of Katharine’s, and mostly he just sweeps around saying all the terrible things we don’t want to hear Spencer say, and we’re glad she finds Spencer so she wasn’t stuck with poor old Gig.  Her choice is really between a traditional marriage and a modern one.  Joan Blondell plays Katharine’s assistant who is no better than she should be, but damn fine at her job.  Joan is excellent, as she always is, and I hope we get the chance to pay her some attention in some of her other supporting roles in future Feel Good Features.  
                                    

           

Where on Earth do I find this movie?

Well, gentle viewer, it’s streaming on Netflix, you may rent it through Amazon Prime for $3.99, buy the digital download for $9.99, or buy the DVD for $8.87, also from Amazon.  If you’re ok with used, you can buy copies through Alibris.com and find copies for just a dollar or two, choosing a local seller will save you on shipping.  Sadly, I have no ideas for international viewers, fingers crossed that you can find it.  


Live-tweet details:

Saturday, August 5, at 8pm Eastern (adjust to your time zone), we’ll meet under the hashtag #FGFLT (Feel Good Features Live Tweet), to watch along and marvel at all the ways times have changed, and all the ways they haven’t. 

I know many of my friends aren’t familiar with many old movies, was this post helpful?  Are you curious about actors, directors, and writers?  Give me feedback, so I can tailor these posts to what you, gentle viewer, want to know. Leave a comment, tweet at me, send a carrier pigeon, or a semaphore, if you know it. 

August Schedule

                

Gentle viewers, I’m so excited!  We’re going to do this thing!  For our first month’s schedule, I’ve picked classic stories.  A romantic comedy, a well-loved Shakespeare comedy with an all-star cast, one of many adaptations of a literary staple, and a Hitchcock emotional thriller.  I’m trying to keep my choices free or cheap, so I’ll let you know how to watch cheapest in the blog posts for each movie, though all prices I post are based on US viewers. 

We voted on Twitter, and Saturday or Sunday were your days of choice, with evenings (for me) being your preferred time. I know many people will be watching Game of Thrones, so for now, I’m planning all live-tweets for Saturdays at 8pm Eastern, using the hashtag #FGFLT.  

I have no particular rules about what we watch, though I want to include lots of old movies and keep them mostly light-hearted.  If you have some old favorite movies we should watch, comment or tweet me @FGFeatures!

August 5 Desk Set

-1957 Directed by Walter Lang, starring Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy. Find it on Netflix, rent or buy it on Amazon, or get it used through Alibris.com

August 12 Much Ado About Nothing

-1993 Directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Kenneth Branagh & Emma Thompson.  I recorded it on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), but if you missed my tweet, you can rent or buy it on Amazon.

August 19 Little Women

-1949 Directed by Mervyn Le Roy, starring June Allyson &Peter Lawford.  I recorded it on TCM, but if you missed my tweet, you can rent or buy it on Amazon, or through Alibris.com from $5.78 (buy local to lower shipping costs).

August 26 Rebecca

-1940 Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Laurence Olivier & Joan Fontaine.  I recorded it on TCM, but if you missed my tweet, you can buy it from either Amazon, or through Alibris.com.

So, what do you think, good schedule?  Bad schedule?  Where the heck are the musicals?!?!  Trust me, gentle viewers, there will be musicals.  Oh yes, there will be musicals.  Give me feedback here in the comments, or on Twitter @FGFeatures. 

Here’s the thing…

I love movies.  I love going to the theater, I love watching at home, I love new, old, funny, dramatic, action, sci-fi, musicals, whatever.  I’ll watch alone, with my husband Adam, or “with” friends via live-tweet.  Live-tweeting is one of my love languages, ask around. I want to share this love of character and story, and I’m too chicken to podcast, so here we are.

Welcome to Feel Good Features.  I’m going to pick a few (mostly upbeat) movies each month, give you an idea how to get them, write a little about each one here, and then live-tweet one a week under #FGFLT using the @FGFeatures Twitter Account.

I’m compiling my list for August, but I’ll be starting with some old movies that many of my friends have missed.  We all have gaps in our pop-culture knowledge, and I may not know or think of a great movie.  If you have any feedback, would like to suggest a title, or have thoughts on scheduling for the live-tweets, please comment or get in touch with me on Twitter @FGFeatures, or on Facebook at Feel Good Features.