TCM Club February 2023 Meeting

Our Triangle Classic Movie Club members met virtually in February and came prepared to discuss three top movies and why they love them. Of course, it was unanimous that our movie aficionados had a myriad of movies to give “props” to. It turned out to be a difficult challenge for everyone and it led to a robust discussion of directors, composers, costumers and of course, the actors. It is always amazing to note how learned our group is about classic movies! But all this knowledge still leads us to beg the question, “Why do we love THESE movies?”

Top L to R: Gloria, Kami & Chris, Caroline, Dan
Middle L to R: Susan, Genine, Jane, Adrienne
Bottom L to R: Lexi, Sharon, Pam

Let’s start with Gloria…

1. Brief Encounter:  I love the performances; it’s a great story; especially because the wife is so divided – she loves the doctor, but she doesn’t want to have an affair with him. And it breaks my heart that he goes away, and she will never see him again.

2. Now, Voyager:  The transformation of Bette’s character is so pronounced – at the beginning, she is shy and unattractive. But after going to the clinic, she is stunning and is dressed so well. The mother is so mean it’s ridiculous. The music in the film is so fitting it makes me feel sympathy for Bette’s character.

3. Portrait of Jennie:  Joseph Cotton’s character is so taken with Jennie who keeps disappearing from him. The supernatural aspect of this film appeals to me too. The fact that Jennie gets older in such a short space of time is baffling to Joseph Cotton but of course, he is pleased.

 And now, Genine…

1. Gone With the Wind: To which my Mother introduced to me at 4, and I have seen well over 200 times, each time noticing something different (!). Although legitimately controversial, I love that every woman in that movie use what they have to survive. Also, I think I first fell in love with the score, even as a child, as it, to me, is almost as important to the picture as Scarlett, herself;

2. Strike Up the Band:  With my favorites Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney whose talents light up the screen. I love the music, the fashion, the old-fashioned values, Busby Berkley,the fact that they only need $200 to take a full orchestra to Chicago by bus, and the fruit orchestra! I have also frequently told my children that, if I am ever in a coma and they want me to wake up, they just need to play this movie — especially the “La Conga” number.

3. We have a multiple tie:  A Place in the Sun with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, TIED WITH Desperate Journey starring Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan, Arthur Kennedy, and Alan Hale (a patriotic, angst-provoking WWII picture with a great dialogue and wonderful humor added at just the right moments), and Now, Voyager — Bette Davis and Paul Henreid —need I say more?!

4. Honorable mentions included Waterloo Bridge and The Heiress — both 3-hanky movies for me; anything with Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, and Vivien Leigh, actually; Rome Adventure — a favorite “Friday night with a glass of wine” movie; Urban Cowboy — my guilty pleasure; Mama Mia:  Here We Go Agai” — makes me cry every time at the end; Imitation of Life (Lana Turner version) —  Best. Funeral. EVER!!! and The Blue Bird with Shirley Temple, which heavily influenced my childhood picture of heaven.

Next up, Caroline…

1.  Auntie Mame: I love this movie because it showcases Roz Russell in all her talented glory! She does it all in Auntie Mame–comedy, drama, musical performances, and plays multiple characters—a 1920s bathtub gin party hostess, a shop girl at Macy’s, telephone operator, a hilarious southern belle and an author and stage actress—all in this one movie. It is a tour de force! Roz delivers some great lines, too.  Among my favorites is this acidic one tossed at her best friend, actress Vera Charles— if I kept my hair natural like you, I’d be bald.”

2. The Quiet Man: Every March, near St Patrick’s Day on the 17th, you will find a broadcast of The Quiet Man, a comic charmer. This is the ultimate Irish culture movie, a sweet love story and a movie with incredible cinematography, for which it won an Oscar in 1952. It was truly a labor of love by director John Ford who bought the story for $10 in 1936 but was unable to find any study willing to produce it until the 1950s. As I am 50% Irish heritage from my mother’s side, so I enjoy hearing the Irish lilt accents of the characters and appreciate the explanations of Irish customs and seeing the unspoiled, beautiful Irish countryside. The movie reminds me of my Irish grandmother…

3. Maytime: This 1937 MGM operetta is one of my favorite Nelson Eddy & Jeanette MacDonald team ups. They did 9 movies together and this was Jeanette’s favorite, too. It is an enchanting, romantic musical set in France in the time of Napoleon. John Barrymore gives an intense performance as Jeanette’s jilted husband. The on-screen chemistry between Nelson and Jeanette is just beautiful to watch and their voices are exquisite. They were in love off screen too and as they were both married to others, Nelson and Jeanette had a lot of heartache in their lives which is reflected in the beautiful duets. I love the gorgeous costumes from the Napoleonic era and the opera based on classic symphonies. It won the Oscar for Best Movie Scoring and Best Sound. The song entitled Sweetheart was a big hit back in the day, This movie just makes me smile from the moment it starts until the end. I must have watched it 50 times!

Dan discussed the fascination of these three movies… 

1.Vertigo:  An intense psychological thriller. James Stewart is retired from the police force because he has developed a paralyzing fear of heights. His college friend (Tom Helmore) asks Stewart to come out of retirement to follow his wife Madelyn (dual role Madelyn/Judy played by Kim Novak). The con is on. Holland has killed his real wife Madelyn, which Novack is pretending to be. Stewart follows Novak and falls in love with Madelyn, only to witness her climb a bell tower and jump to her death. The con continues as Novak pretends to be another character, Judy. (The grey suit, the hair style that matched the painting in the art museum was perfect.) Hitchcock was a master, he used the camera in a way that danced with certain intense and intimate scenes. The beauty of Kim Novak and the fascination of how Jimmy Stewart obsession with Judy has him living on the edge of insanity as he realizes he has been duped by Novak and Helmore: Ending scene as Stewart forces (Novak as Judy) to recreate the bell tower scene as his character becomes more and more crippled by his vertigo as Novak falls to her death. The camera angles are perfect.

2. Psycho: Another fascinating Hitchcock movie. Intense and very scary. Janet Leigh’s brief appearance as a person caught in a good girl/bad girl situation that gives into her stealing money from her employer. As she in on her get way, she decides to stop for the night at The Bates Motel where she meets the creepy manager of the Bates motel as he talks about his mother. Anthony Perkins was truly creepy as Norman Bates. Dan remembers when the movie first came to theaters that Hitchcock asked audiences to keep the ending a secret.  

3. The Searchers: There’s a controversial aspect of this movie. John Wayne plays a ruthless, bigoted confederate who returns home to join family and friends in search for his niece who was captured by Indians. Wayne would rather kill his niece before she grows up as an Indian. His niece does not want to be rescued. The movie is about surviving the west and the redemption of his character. In a moving scene near the end of the movie, he does not kill his niece, he brings her home to family.

Here’s Adrienne’s list:

1. Stalag 17:  Not a movie that many people think about watching as a very intense movie. William Holden won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1953. The movie tells the story of a group of American airmen in a German prisoner of war camp named Stalag 17. The movie has a great ensemble cast. We witness as the men in stalag 17 believe that they have betrayed by one of their own men in the camp.

2. The Prince and the Pauper: A 1937 black and white movie about two boys that were born on the same day. One is born Prince Edward the other Pauper Tom. The two boys meet and decide to switch identities. When the boys tell the truth about who they are nobody believes them. The plot gets intense as the King dies and they must find someone who will believe their story before one is killed. The movie has a lot of suspense.

3. The Group: From the book by Mary McCarthy, eight women from Vassar College class of 1933 remain close friends. As they venture out into the world, they discover that the life they aspired to would actually be very disappointing. They try to find happiness spanning the Great Depression through WWII. Another ensemble cast starring a young Candance Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, et al. The movie was released in 1966.

Pam shared her list…

1. Lilies of the Field: A 1963 black and white movie starring Sidney Portier as Homer Smith, a handyman who is traveling cross country. He stops by a rural farm when he sees a group of nun’s working on their fence. He is welcomed by the nuns, and he repairs the fence. Mother Maria, the stern leader of the nuns from Germany, Austria and Hungary. The relationship between Smith and Maria is captivating. The nuns have been praying for a miracle. They believe that Smith has been sent to build them a chapel for them. This in an incredible movie. Quiet but powerful. Sidney Portier won an Oscar for his performance.

2. All about Eve: Bette Davis at her best. Davis as Margo and Anne Baxter as Eve, the manipulating want be Broadway star. Also, the up-and-coming Marilyn Monroe. It’s just a great movie with wonderful actors.

3. Mutiny on the Bounty 1935 film: Again, another great movie about relationships. Clarke Gable as Lieutenant Officer Fletcher Christian and Charles Laughton as Captain William Bligh. The ship HRH Bounty is leaving Portsmouth, England and sailing to Tahiti. Bligh is brutal, sadistic tyrant. Bligh will torture any crew member for any small infraction. The relationship between Fletcher and Bligh deteriorates and a mutiny ensues. The movie has a great cast, beautiful movie locations and scenery. 

Pam also gave a shout out for the movie A Taste Of Honey. Release date 1961, this British black and white movie stars Rita Tushingham as a pregnant teenager and her mother as an unstable alcoholic. She is on her own with the help of her gay co-worker.

Additional member shares from Lexi…

  • Singing in the Rain
  • Claudine
  • Shawshank Redemption

From Chris…

  • Casablanca
  • Philadelphia Story
  • The Apartment

And Kami…

  • Harvey
  • His Girl Friday
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Classic Couple Shout-Out

Many thanks to Caroline and Sharon for running the February meeting and for capturing these amazing highlights. XOXOXO!