Because sometimes it’s good to do so with friends.
THE MATING SEASON (1951) is a delightful comedy in which short-order cook Thelma Ritter decides to move in with son John Lund only to reconsider when she learns he’s a)newly married to Gene Tierney and b)hasn’t been honest about coming from working-class stock. When she shows up at the door, however, Tierney mistakes her for the employment-agency cook she requested, which, of course, complicates everything.
Will Tierney figure things out? Will Lund’s boss get to first base with the tart-tongued cook? A talented cast and a very funny film. “You’re utterly unequipped for such a marriage—does he know you were brought up in an embassy with twenty servants?”
THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1940) remains a favorite fantasy of mine even though it’s a European orientalist fantasy with a white cast in brownface. John Justin plays the well-meaning sultan of Baghdad, unaware vizier/sorcerer Jaffar (Conrad Veidt) has been subverting his rule and turning the people against him (it’s a staple of old swashbucklers—monarchy is not the problem, trusting in the wrong advisers is where kings go wrong). With the help of the titular thief (Sabu), the sultan escapes Jaffar’s plans to kill him, falls in love and finally frees his city from the sorcerer’s tyranny. I’ve written about the film’s characters before, but I found myself even more impressed with Veidt’s performance this time; when he finally gets to embrace the princess, he does it like he can’t believe he’s finally gotten the girl (spoiler: he hasn’t). “Allah be with you — though I doubt it.”
WHAT’S UP DOC? (1972) remains one of my all-time favorites as chaos-bringing polymath Barbra Streisand falls for perpetually bemused musicologist Ryan O’Neal, jolting him out of his comfort zone and into her arms. Plus we have multiple identical travel bags, jewel thieves, disgruntled hotel manager Jonathan Hillerman, academic fraud and Streisand singing. Always a pleasure. “I can take or leave your sedimentary rocks.”I only caught part of LOVE PUNCH (2013) which is one I haven’t seen before. Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan play a divorced couple who discover their retirement funds and their kid’s college fund have all gone south thanks to Brosnan’s company’s new owners sucking out all the money, rendering the stock worthless (yes, the couple made the big mistake of putting all their eggs in one basket). Can a middle-aged couple pull off a caper and recover the money? Amusing enough, and decently performed, that I’ll finish the rest of it eventually. “You know I would never ask you do to anything illegal but I was wondering if you might … stumble into it?”
A CHANGE IN TIME (2022) was a short I caught at ConCarolinas has a British teenager learn that due to someone tampering with his grandfather’s love life, he and his family no longer exist, will he please report for dissolution now? This leads to a desperate effort by him and one of his relatives to put things back on track. Not bad at all.
And as I mentioned yesterday, I caught the play DADDY’S GIRL on vacation. A sweet comedy, it has a Kansas City diner owner coping with his oddball regulars and a daffy new waitress, unaware his dead wife’s ghost and a giggling angel are arranging for the return of the daughter he gave up for adoption after her mother died. Is it the snotty food critic trying to figure out the secret of his special sauce? A biker babe’s daughter with a secret passion for singing? I figured out the answer ahead of the reveal but that didn’t hurt the show it’s funny, well-acted and of course well directed. “How do I know if her daughter can sing?”
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