After devoting over a year and a half to reviewing every Disney animated film, I was ready to put Disney behind me, for awhile. I recently became one-half of the Walt Sent Me podcast (available to listen to now) and our first featured film was The Reluctant Dragon. The Reluctant Dragon isn’t considered one of the 53 movies Disney considers part of their animated legacy. Odd, considering it contains an equal amount of live action to animation, on par with the later package films. The movie is gimmicky in its depiction of a happy Disney environment during a time when it was anything but, but it depicts a moment in time at the Walt Disney Studios we’ll never witness again, and that makes all the difference.
Maybe I wasn’t in the right mindset to watch Life With Father; I watched it right after To Kill a Mockingbird, so I had the bar set pretty high. Or maybe it’s because I love Meet Me in St. Louis, which also deals with a turn-of-the-century family. Regardless, I found Life With Father to be a tedious affair powered by William Powell and a 14-year-old Elizabeth Taylor. There are particular moments of fun, but the rote characterization and plot never go anywhere, keeping it hard to maintain your attention for two-hours.
I’m a little late to the party; I hadn’t seen To Kill a Mockingbird before. I read the book in high school, but missed the day we watched the film in class. Honestly, I’m the world’s biggest idiot because I was missing out on a beautiful, tear-jerking piece of cinematic excellence. Progressive for the time, To Kill a Mockingbird presents a 1960s message on prejudice, violence, and tolerance that’s one of the best I’ve seen (and Peck had done social commentary films prior to). Told from the mature POV of an adult, but featuring a cast of child stars that’s unparalleled, To Kill a Mockingbird is a movie the entire family needs to experience.
Comedy Wednesday continues after a week’s absence with Michael Curtiz’s 1938 action/adventure romp, The Adventures of Robin Hood. My professor appears to have good taste because this was also suggested to me a year or so ago by blog reader, Chip! The Adventures of Robin Hood is a rollicking tale of derring-do, all anchored by the devilish smile and personality of Mr. Errol Flynn.
Classic film fans are mourning the loss of star Shirley Temple today. In her honor, I’m reposting one of my favorite movies starring her, with additional reviews of her work coming in March.
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is worth remaking today, and by the same token it’s witnessed in every film made in Hollywood currently. The tale of an older man being forced to date a teenage girl could easily slip into dark and disturbing territory, but with loveable leading man Cary Grant and perpetual ray of sunshine Shirley Temple in the roles, you’ll find yourself laughing at the predicament. This is the second pairing of Myrna Loy with Grant, and while their romance is the “acceptable” one, it doesn’t have nearly the comic effervescence of Grant and Temple, leaving the audience to wonder if this May-December romance could work out.