He’s a Mighty Mighty Good Man

I’ve mentioned my ridiculous booklist in the past. Over the years, I’ve tried like hell to create one for movies. In fact, my movie lists predate the book list by years. But they’ve never been quite as effective. I don’t know why. I mean, I watched the AFI Top 100 and it’s not even my list! BY FAR it’s not even my list. And then I occasionally make a poke at Entertainment Weekly’s list. Then months pass and I find myself digging through old documents in various computers? “What the hell is “BETSY2″?!” and I discover these enormous lists, typed up when I had more time on my hands…and somehow I’ve managed to watch a large chunk of the movies listed.

Perhaps this is somewhat due to my Netflix queue. It’s self maintaining. Netflix keeps track of what I’ve rented. Certainly that isn’t the entirety of what I’ve seen (and why do I need keep track anyway? Well…), but it is the majority of what I’ve seen.

I don’t know. Blah blah blah. The point is, I watched Only Angels Have Wings last night. This film has been on my To Watch list in some for or another since, and I kid you not, 2000. My friend Biz, a film minor, was assigned to watch it for a class. All she had to mention was that Cary Grant was in it, and onto my list it went. I’m not a die-hard Howard Hawkes fan. (Although he was born in Goshen, Indiana which puts as a native of Ft. Detroito, so he wins points there.) I like some of his stuff, I dislike some of his stuff, but we both share an affinity for one man: Cary Grant. Ergo, I watch most of his stuff.

I love and own His Girl Friday. His Girl Friday is a special movie for me. It was one of the first “old movies” I dared watch as a youngish teenager (14 or 15). My Mom recommended it to me (she’s a big Rosalind Russell fan), and so did the oddly knowledgeable guy that worked at Family Video in the mid-nineties in Defiance, Ohio. I never knew his name. Perhaps I should have read his name-tag. Anyway, he caught me during my Michael Keaton kick while I was renting The Paper. He said, “You know this is just a remake of His Girl Friday.” And I said, “Huh?” or something horribly teenagery and we chatted and I thought, what the hell? So I rented His Girl Friday too. and LOVED it. And Cary Grant. (Although I already loved Cary Grant, thanks to Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.)

Howard Hawkes also directed Gentlemen Prefer Blondes which I adore. He knows how to cast a broad. I refer not to Marilyn Monroe, but to Jane Russell. Or maybe he just likes women with the last name Russell.

But I don’t like Bringing up Baby. I’m aware this is blasphemous among old movie lovers but frankly I found Kate irritating as hell. Luckily, the movie featured Grant and Charles Ruggles whom I adore and wish I had at all my family dinners so he could tell me funny stories and wear sweater vests and be generally grandpa-ish and loveable. And I think we all know how I feel about large cats. So it wasn’t a bust. I just wish someone would have shoved a sock in Hepburn’s mouth.

What was I talking about?

Oh right. Only Angels Have Wings. So I loved it. I thought it was going to be a comedy…and maybe technically, it’s considered one. But…well, I don’t think so. A friend of mine mentioned that the part he loved is that when the movie was made, flying was still so new. Such a novelty. And I caught that, and agree. There’s a childlike quality of awe in these characters. But what I really loved was Jean Arthur. The last (and possibly first) time I saw Jean Arthur was in Shane…a movie during which I nearly died from self-induced filmic exhaustion. It’s not Shane’s fault it was #99 in my quest to watch the top 100 AFI movies, but Shane didn’t do anything to revive me. Anyway, I didn’t realize how cute she was. I feel like we don’t have a Jean Arthur right now. Maybe Amy Adams? Amy Adams in 5 years? Anyway, I enjoyed her performance. I think there were times when I was single that seeing Jean Arthur in this film would have been kind of comforting.
And then of course we have a not-so slap-sticky Cary Grant. In a bomber jacket. Reeee-ow. Purrrr. What a man. What. A. Man. (Cue Peggy Lee.) It was just a nice combo. And then, of course, Hayworth shows up, and you feel like you’re watching this little best-kept secret. And in a way, you are. And Thomas Mitchell? I guess maybe I blend better with Howard Hawkes than I thought I did.

Hmmm…looking at IMDB, I haven’t seen nearly as much as I thought I had. Perhaps my next “kick” is Howard Hawkes!


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