Much like the complete portrait, Portrait of Jennie is a lovely feature where lovely people act lovely. There isn’t anything negative about that, but with such an overly sweeping narrative about the power of love and watching the actors fawn and gush about how in love they are, a bolt of lightning and a massive tidal wave is the shock to the system this film needs. My review is probably going to sound cynical despite my overall enjoyment of the feature, but much like cheap art the whole thing feels flat.
My final Film Class Wednesday movie is the fantastic Wizard of Oz. This is a movie reviewed to death, so read my repost where I present a rather humorous take on the movie. Something to note, this was also the closing-night film during this year’s TCM Film Festival.
It’s difficult reviewing a truly beloved film since there are few unexplored avenues you can go down without blandly reiterating how amazing it is. For today’s review, let’s go funny. There are a few things I’ve always wanted to discuss about The Wizard of Oz, mainly things which bother me. So with that, I present this review of The Wizard of Oz. Keep in mind, I love this movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s infallible.
The last production Walt Disney greenlit, The Love Bug was the perfect movie to help audiences sit down and tune out during the chaotic year of 1968. The story of a little bug with a spunky personality perservering against the wealthy corporate drudge is a tale as old as time…but those other movies lack a car named Herbie. The first of the Herbie movies is a fun little tale even if it lacks the punch of other Disney classics before or after.
The first of (hopefully) several articles exploring the upcoming TCM Classic Film Festival simultaneously marks the return of the Mint in the Box review. If you missed my inaugural post exploring the Sound of Music Collector’s box set, check it out! I received the Wizard of Oz Collector’s Edition after begging and pleading with my parents, ultimately convincing them that if I didn’t get the flash drive included with this set, exclusively sold via Amazon, my life would never be good again…and they could write it off as a business expense or something (didn’t work out in my favor there). Thankfully, opening this set up now was a great idea, aiding my journey into the TCM waters next week.
My distaste for Leslie Howard, Norma Shearer and (to a lesser extent) Fredric March, are well-documented in my various reviews of their work. So color me surprised when I settled down to watch Smilin’ Through, a 1930s romance now available via Warner Archive. The direction and acting suffer from routine issues plaguing movies till about the mid-30s (such as highly overwrought acting and soppy direction), but the sensitive telling of the story does enough to temper the movies faults.
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.
Danny Kaye returns in a film cementing several of the tropes he’s commonly identified with: pairing with actress Virginia Mayo and playing a dual role. Wonder Man is a diversionary picture about gangsters and two brothers mimicking Goofus and Gallant. There’s a fair bit of humor where Kaye’s concerned, but the overemphasis on musical numbers in the third act dampens the impact of the established narrative which is woefully underdeveloped. However, you can’t fault song and dance numbers when the delightful Vera-Ellen is on-screen.