If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know of my love for Tudor dramas. The only one I reviewed prior to this is Cate Blanchett‘s Elizabeth. How funny then I’m reviewing another Queen Elizabeth film today, but this one takes place when our Virgin Queen is a fair bit older. The 1955 film The Virgin Queen is a mixed bag of Elizabethan melodrama, Shakespearean romance, and a queen who just happens to be named Elizabeth. I learned the details behind the movie after watching it helping make sense of the film’s tone, but ultimately The Virgin Queen is a 1950s period love story endeavoring to be a Queen Elizabeth movie.
I’m a terrible person for just now watching You Can’t Take It With You considering it was voted as the number one film you readers requested I write about. With that, this is a wacky blend of screwball comedy with social satire with hilariously endearing performances by its ensemble cast.
When I spoke to Jane Withers last May she talked quite a bit about filming Bright Eyes and her struggles working with Shirley Temple. I hated to admit to her that I hadn’t seen the finished product, and she, of course, urged me to get to it! I doubt Jane is reading, but if she is, I finally watched Bright Eyes! The first feature written expressly to showcase Temple was not at all what I expected. Outright kooky at times, the script comprises a sweet and sour element, one that includes a rather brutal death and some audacious humor. There’s a messiness to Bright Eyes that Captain January cleaned up and moved away from.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale of a little girl trapped in an all-girls boarding school after her father dies holds a special place in my heart, but it’s not for this version of the Little Princess. I’ve always had an abiding love for the 1995 reboot of Burnett’s novel, changing the indefinite article from The to A Little Princess. You could say this minor title change sums up the differences between the two films, and it’s hard avoiding comparisons. Either way, Shirley Temple’s magnificent shadow ends up dampening the glow of Burnett’s work, installing far too many characters and lessening the suspense of the overall story.
I always get a bit leery doing this posts because they remind me how quickly the year is going by. It seems like I just did the TCM Top Ten for January a few weeks back and now we’re in July! Anyway, we have quite the ten assembled as TCM gears up for dog days of summer and Summer Under the Stars. Let’s see what’s worth making time for in July!