Comedy


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Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Jayne Mansfield Collection (The Girl Can’t Help It / The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw / Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?)

Tagline – Man, oh man, oh Mansfield!

Starring – Tony Randall (Rockwell P. Hunter), Jayne Mansfield (Rita Marlowe), Betsy Drake (Jenny Wells), Joan Blondell (Violet).

Released – July, 1957

Directed By – Frank Tashlin

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – How does it feel to be low man on the advertising totem pole? Just ask Rockwell P. Hunter of the La Salle Advertising Agency.

Not only is Rockwell having problems… the whole agency is on the brink. Making matters worse is the fact that La Salle’s biggest account – Stay-Put Lipstick – is threatening to leave them for another agency.

And then the light-bulb turns on. Rockwell has a great idea that will save the Stay-Put-Lipstick account and his career. His plan is to get famous actress, and woman with the “oh-so-kissable lips”, Rita Marlowe to be the model and spokeswoman for Stay-Put’s new line of lipstick.

To get some instant publicity, La Salle “leaks” to the tabloids that Rockwell is Rita Marlowe’s lover. Not only does this plan get the public’s attention, but it now raises Rockwell’s status at the agency to star level.

But, not everyone is happy. Marlowe’s current boyfriend, TV’s Tarzan, Bobo Branigansky is jealous. Complicating the situation even further is the fact that Rita Marlowe thinks she is actually falling in love with Rockwell.

It isn’t long before Rockwell P. Hunter finds out that fame is a double-edged sword.

NOTABLE: Rita Marlowe, the name of Jayne Mansfield’s character, is a combination of *Rita* Hayworth, Jean H*arlow*, and Marilyn *M*onr*oe.*

Jane Mansfield also starred in the original Broadway play of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter that ran, at New York’s Belasco Theatre, for 444 performances.

Mamie Van Doren was originally offered the role of Rita Marlowe but turned it down.

Love in the Afternoon

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Love in the Afternoon

Tagline – It’s more likely in Paris and more LOVELY IN THE AFTERNOON!

Starring – Gary Cooper (Frank Flannagan), Audrey Hepburn (Ariane Chavasse), Maurice Chevalier (Claude Chavasse), John McGiver (Monsieur X).

Released – June, 1957

Directed By – Billy Wilder

Produced By – Billy Wilder Productions

Distributed By – Allied Artists Pictures

Description – In Paris, detective Claude Chavasse has been hired by the husband of a married woman suspected of carrying on an affair with American playboy Frank Flannagan. Sure enough, she had been seeing the American almost on a daily basis. Her husband’s anger boils over and he tells the detective he will kill Flannagan.

Overhearing the conversation is the detective’s daughter Ariane. Unable to get help from the police until an actual crime has been committed, Ariane finds Frank to tell him herself. She is just in the nick of time. As the irate husband breaks into Frank’s room he finds the playboy with Ariane and not his wife who has just slipped out the window.

Flannagan is intrigued by the young woman who has warned him, but does not even know her name. She is also intrigued by the older playboy and decides to make herself appealing to him by playing the role of a “femme fatale.”

Flannagan’s interest is aroused and the two meet the next day and spend the night together before he boards a plane to leave Paris. She has now fallen in love with the older man.

A year later, Frank returns to Paris and the two meet again by chance at an opera and resume their affair. She continues with the experienced woman charade and Frank is not sure if he believes her or not.

Later Frank encounters the previously outraged husband who had burst into his room intent on killing him. They speak in a friendly fashion and Frank tells him about the mysterious Ariane. The husband suggests that Frank have her investigated and suggests detective Claude Chavasse.

It isn’t long before Chavasse realizes the mysterious woman is his own daughter. The age difference frightens him and he asks Frank to no longer see Ariane and to not break her heart. However, Frank has also fallen in love and, although he understands, doing this will not be easy.

A May – December romance has much going against it to begin with and Frank makes an excuse to again leave Paris. Is his the right decision, or is true love not measured by age?

NOTABLE: Initially, Love in the Afternoon was both a critical and commercial disaster. The general feeling was that Gary Cooper was too old and in ill health to have taken the role. In fact, Cary Grant had turned down the role due to his own age. However, as time passed the film’s popularity grew due to pure romanticism.

Audrey Hepburn made this film back-to-back with Funny Face.

Love in the Afternoon provided the screen debut for John McGiver.

Filming locations in Paris included the Château of Vitry in the Yvelines, the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera), and the Hôtel Ritz Paris.

Desk Set

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Desk Set [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Make the office a wonderful place to love in!

Starring – Spencer Tracy (Richard Sumner), Katharine Hepburn (Bunny Watson), Gig Young (Mike Cutler), Joan Blondell (Peg Costello), Dina Merrill (Sylvia Blair).

Released – May, 1957

Directed By – Walter Lang

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – Engineer Richard Sumner is on a secret mission. Espionage? Nope. Richard is “casing” the Federal Broadcasting Network for the installation of a new computer system of operation.

Why the cloak and dagger stuff? A secret merger with another large company will bring with it a great deal of additional work for the current staff. In order to not alarm the staff before the merger, Richard has been assigned to structure the introduction of two computers to help with the increased work load.

The use of two ‘electronic brains’ just may cause the loss of some jobs. One job belongs to Bunny Watson. Bunny is in charge of reference and research and also the sweetheart of rising company executive Mike Cutler.

Things get considerably more complicated as Richard begins to take a romantic interest in Bunny. Although in a relationship with Mike, Bunny realizes that he may not be interested in any kind of long-term pairing. Such as marriage.

With Richard’s new attention causing Bunny to be more and more interested in the possibilities with him she still has doubts regarding his sincerity. It is Bunny’s fear that Richard is, and will always be, more interested in the new computer system than in her.

How to find out requires just one simple test. Bunny will set the new computer system to self-destruct and see how Richard reacts to the news.

NOTABLE: Desk Set is based on a William Marchant play and the character of Bunny Watson on librarian Agnes E. Law, who had built up the CBS network’s research library.

Desk Set was the first film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn to be filmed in color.

The Court Jester

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The Court Jester

Tagline – The Musical Romantic Adventure Of This Or Any Year!

Starring – Danny Kaye (Hubert Hawkins), Glynis Johns (Maid Jean), Basil Rathbone (Sir Ravenhurst), Angela Lansbury (Princess Gwendolyn).

Released – January, 1956

Directed By – Melvin Frank, Norman Panama

Produced By – Dena Enterprises

Distributed By – Paramount Pictures

Description – These are dangerous times in medieval England, as King Roderick has stolen the throne and disposed of the rightful King and his entire family. Or, so he thinks. There is one member of the family left… a baby. And that baby should be king.

A plot is underway to regain the throne. The Black Fox and his band of rebels enlist the aid of ex-carnival entertainer Hubert Hawkins. It is Hubert’s job to carry the baby across the country to safety when King Roderick’s men threaten to discover the rebels.

King Roderick, in an effort to gain the help of Sir Griswold of MacElwain in his fight against the rebels, has offered the hand of his daughter Princess Gwendolyn. The Princess refuses the marriage insisting that she will only marry for love.

Disguised as an old man, Hubert, and The Black Fox’s lieutenant, Maid Jean, who just happen to be in love, cross paths with Giacomo, the King’s new jester. Hubert and Maid Jean knock him unconscious and Hubert assumes his identity. This will gain them entrance into the castle where they hope to steal the key to a secret passage into the castle from which The Black Fox could attack.

One thing they did not count on was the fact that Giacomo was also an assassin that Sir Ravenhurst wishes to use to get rid of his enemies. Things get a little out of hand when the King’s daughter, Princess Gwendolyn, falls for Hubert, now Giacomo, and the King falls for Maid Jean. Also seriously complicating matters is a witch with some very effective spells and some poison pellets that are a threat to everybody.

And if that’s not enough, Sir Ravenhurst starts to believe that Hubert, posing as the court jester, is The Black Fox. Ravenhurst wants to eliminate Hubert, without revealing who he believes he is to the King, by having the King make Hubert a night. This would follow with a fight that would surely end with Hubert’s death.

NOTABLE: In 2004, The Court Jester was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The time setting for the film required Danny Kaye to wear tights. The films produces, unhappy with the way Kaye looked in them, insisted that he wear “leg falsies” to improve the shape of his legs.

 

The Ladykillers

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The Ladykillers (StudioCanal Collection) [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Meet “The Unholy Five”…The Most Befuddled Set of Assorted Thugs That Ever Fouled Up a Million Dollar Bank Robbery!

Starring – Alec Guinness (Professor Marcus), Cecil Parker (Major Claude Courtney), Herbert Lom (Louis Harvey), Peter Sellers (Harry Robinson), Danny Green (‘One-Round’ Lawson), Katie Johnson (Mrs. Louisa Alexandra Wilberforce).

Released – December, 1955

Directed By – Alexander Mackendrick

Produced By – The Rank Organization, Ealing Studios

Distributed By – Continental Distributing

Description – Eccentric old widow, Louisa Wilberforce, lives, with her parrots, in a large house above the entrance to a railway tunnel. To help pass her time, and best make use of her very active imagination, she frequently visits the local police station to report on those she believes to be suspicious characters.

Her accusations, along with many wild-goose chases, have caused the police to no longer give her stories any credence.

The comically sinister criminal Professor Marcus has put together a motley crew for a sophisticated heist of a security van at the railway station near Mrs. Wilberforce’s house. The gang decides to rent a room from her to act as their base for the robbery.

The Professor has convinced Mrs. Wilberforce that the group are an amateur string quintet who will use the room for rehearsals. The group carry musical instruments and play recordings during their planning of the heist in order to keep up the deception.

And quite a group they are: the Professor himself, con-man and gentleman Major Courtney, Cockney Harry Robinson, continental gangster Louis Harvey, who is the most vicious, and slow-witted, ex-boxer ‘One-Round.’

The theft goes as planned, but when the gang try to leave Mrs. Wilberforce’s home an accident results in her seeing the money and realizing the truth. She tells the Professor that she intends to inform the police.

Not knowing her credibility issues with the police, the gang decides that they must do away with her. The gang members draw matchsticks to see who will carry out the deed. Comical deception and double-cross become the order of the day, and soon there are bodies everywhere.

NOTABLE: In 2006, Premiere Magazine voted The Ladykillers as one of “The Fifty Greatest Comedies of All Time.”

Originally, the producers felt that actress Katie Johnson might be too frail for the role and cast a younger actress for the part. Ironically, the younger actress died before the filming.

The parrots owned by Mrs. Wilberforce were voiced by actor Peter Sellers.

Writer William Rose stated that his idea for the story came from a dream he had and all he needed to do was fill in the details.

httpv://youtu.be/EoPaqgKWWv0