For me the rules of a great Festive Movie are quite simple : try and make the person who’s watching feel good, put a big Cheshire Cat smile on their face and spread that heartfelt message of love, hope and well wishes far & wide : each year around early December our home is full of Christmas Cheer and we love nothing more than to revisit some of our favorite movies : alternate festive treats such as Die Hard and Gremlins, classics of yesteryear such as The Goonies and Raiders but without question each and every year the Absolute Top Four always get a looking : Richard Donner’s magnificent Scrooged, Frank Capra’s emotionally acclaimed It’s a Wonderful Life, The Griswalds send me into hysterics in Christmas Vacation and Ron Howard magical family movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas : for me these movies embody everything that makes this time of year so special……. what’s you favorite festive movies?
A former policeman wrestles with his personal demons and slow becomes obsessed with a hauntingly mysterious woman : So why is Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO amongst the top tier of the great man’s work? yes Coppel & Taylor’s screenplay is as good as any in the genre, the way the great Jimmy Stewart tackles Scottie’s infatuation & fear of heights is superbly played out, the magnificent striking color’s used throughout literally take your breath away, it’s San Francisco backdrop add’s a certain comfort to each scene and Barbara Bel Geddes gives a career best in playing Scottie’s best friend Midge : all of these give VERTIGO it’s energy but for me the real spark comes from Chicago born Kim Novak and she is why us cinephile’s still talk about this GREAT 50s thriller today, it’s as alluring a performance I’ve seen in any of Hitchcock’s movies, her mystery, beauty and character switch still gives me chills each & everytime I revisit this cinematic classic : I love that moment when Scottie lays eye’s on Madeleine for the first time in the restaurant, Novak’s beauty against the red decor is a sight to behold : and take the moment around 95 minutes in by which time Madeleine has died, Scottie has spent some time in a hospital recovering and upon his release spots a young lady walking down the street that he thinks resembles his lost love, he follows her, knocks on her hotel door only to find a startled Judy Barton standing before him…. the acting from Novak in this scene is captivating, her mind working overtime, the dreaded guilt, the excitement and the possibility are all laid out bare by a vunerable yet driven Kim Novak performance : I truly love revisiting the GEMS from yester-year and there’s not many that better Alfred Hitchcock’s thrilling VERTIGO for it’s towering achievement in suspense, the camera work including the terrific zoom out effect and it’s undoubted beauty ★★★★★
Olivia De Havilland moved to Paris in the mid 50s and still lives there today – she is in my opinion “The Greatest Actress” to have shone on our screens, a giant of cinema who mesmerised with her beauty and injected energy, passion & commitment to her many roles spanning the 30s through to the 60s – De Havilland had an impressive range of performances in her career appearing in classics such as Gone With The Wind, The Snake Pit, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and My Cousin Rachel, she was a Double Best Actress winner at the Oscars for roles in To Each His Own and The Heiress but for me it was her many collaborations with actor and friend Errol Flynn that caught my imagination, she may not have been the main star in these early films but it was her infectious presence, them dreamy eye’s and that swashbuckling attitude in movies such as Dodge City, Captain Blood, They Died With Their Boots On, Santa Fe Trail & The Adventures of Robin Hood that started my love affair with cinema and this British-American actress who took my breath away – so from us here we wish Olivia De Havilland a Happy 100th Birthday !!
Terribly Sad News – the beautiful actress Maureen O’Hara has died aged 95
Throughout the years their have been many great actresses that have graced our screens, but not too many had Maureen O’Hara’s screen presence, her beauty and undoubted acting chops, she was a great leading lady, starring alongside some of Hollywood’s finest including John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart and Tyrone Power – for me on film though she will always be that fiery beauty Mary Kate Danaher from John Ford’s classic movie The Quiet Man where she starred opposite her good friend John Wayne, they appeared in 5 movies together but this 50’s gem is not only their best collaboration but Maureen’s greatest movie role – the lights of the movie world have been dimmed today, as we say farewell to one heck of a movie star !!