Posts Tagged ‘James Stewart’

Merry Christmas.  Here are two movies that I adore that include Christmas and New Years Eve:

I’ve mentioned these two movies before, so  I’ll write just a few highlights.  Some SPOILERS.

Promotional photo of Ginger Rogers for Argenti...

Promotional photo of Ginger Rogers for Argentinean Magazine. (Printed in USA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bachelor Mother with Ginger Rogers and David Niven.  Savvy but starving heroine adopts a baby because everyone thinks it’s hers.  I’d love to see a remake, but with today’s DNA testing, etc., it wouldn’t happen.  I like the hero buying the heroine some beautiful clothes and taking her to the New Years Eve Party.  He’s not quite Prince Charming, and he doesn’t completely appreciate  her until the end, but it’s a fun ride.

I think the landlady who takes care of Ginger’s new baby is sweet and quirky, and I like her college student son.  I love  Charles Coburn  who plays David Niven’s rich, businessman father.  He is also charming as a match maker in The More the Merrier.  The only thing I don’t like in this movie is Ginger’s hair, which is a little too Jean Harlow for me, but it was popular at the time.   Everything else is wonderful.

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman.


One of the more recent romantic comedies that gets it right:  sympathetic, interesting characters who find themselves in a weird, funny situation and end up happily ever after.

Bill Pullman plays an honorable guy who is quietly funny and romantic.

It’s one movie I wish I had written.

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At Christmas, two feuding co-workers don’t know that their antagonist is actually the anonymous pen pal they’re falling in love with.

Great premise, full of humor and angst.

Cover of "The Shop Around the Corner"

Cover of The Shop Around the Corner

The original is Shop Around the Corner with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.  Stewart is endearingly awkward.    This film is black and white, sometimes stagy (looks more like a 1936 movie than 1940), and I think it could have used about ten more minutes of plot development to make it completely wonderful.  I don’t revisit this film often, but I do like it — a lot.

The first remake is In the Good Old Summertime with Van Johnson and Judy Garland.  It’s a musical, although I can’t remember any of the songs,  and fun.  Johnson doesn’t have the emotional depth of Stewart, but it’s still good.

The second remake is You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  This is a great movie, with the plot updated to feuding company owners rather than co-workers, and email instead of hand written letters.  My only quibble about this version is one I have for several Meg Ryan films.  Her characters tend to be living with someone and then upgrade to Mr. Right.  That might be realistic, but it’s not what I consider romantic.  However, Tom Hanks plays his part with great humor and sensitivity, so I like this version very much.

Cover of

Cover of You’ve Got Mail

While analyzing these movies, I realized that there are two things I like about them.  First, I love it when the audience knows something the characters don’t.  It’s fun to watch the leads be rude to each other when we know that they are actually in love with each other.   And second, I find the heroes in these movies tender.  They may be jerks at work, but when they discover the truth, they are kind to the heroines — especially when they take care of them when they are ill.   That melts my heart.

And gives me hope for all the grumpy, annoying people I’ve encountered over the years.

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A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph...

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How did it get to be December 22nd already?  I’ve been working at my newish job, commuting, driving kids around to places, revitalizing an exercise program, thinking about The Hobbit, and suddenly Christmas is upon me, when in my mind I should still have a week or two, maybe three to get ready.

Am I going to get everything done that coulda, shoulda, oughta be done before the big day?  No.  But thanks to internet shopping, I might be able to make a credible showing.

And, I’m going to schedule the rest of the few days remaining, carving out time for a few traditions: driving around to see Christmas lights and spending one evening watching It’s a Wonderful Life.

And I’m going to slow down and count my blessings.

Life is good.

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It’s the time of year to watch It’s a Wonderful Life again, although arguably, it should be watched year ’round.

Poster for IAWL

Poster for IAWL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I watch this film, I am reminded to be thankful for the many blessings in my life.  George Bailey, although an admirable man, isn’t as thankful as he should be in the beginning of the film.  It’s only when he loses what he has that he realizes how wonderful his life really is.

I don’t want that to happen to me.  I want to enjoy life and be thankful right now.   But that requires some attention.   To explain:

Before my wedding I was given some wonderful advice that I’ve tried to pass on to other brides.

Your wedding day is going to be hectic and distracting.   If you’re not careful, you’re going to go through the whirlwind and not really remember much of it, except for the photographic evidence.  So take time, several times during the day, to be still and observe what is going on, so you will have distinct, clear memories of this important day.

Two men wearing morning coats at a wedding. 1929.

Two men wearing morning coats at a wedding. 1929. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The point of this is to slow down and be mindful.  I have several very clear, very sweet memories of my wedding day, one of which was sitting down quietly alone with my mom.  I wore her wedding dress,  and we talked about that and my great love for her.   In the twenty-something years that have passed since that day, the memory of that conversation has remained a sweet and tender moment for me,  giving me strength and comfort.  There were no photographs, but the memory is there.

I want to make good memories now in other areas of my life.  Slowing down and being observant is good, but I’m also trying to write significant moments down in a journal.  Some people keep diaries, others keep gratitude journals, others scrapbook or blog.

Life is more than a never-ending to-do list.  I believe that gratitude is key to happiness.

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Ever since I mentioned Jim Hutton in my blog post yesterday, I’ve been thinking about how much I enjoy him in Walk Don’t Run.  He is tall, thin, and moves in a lanky, endearing way.  I looked up his height and he was 6’5″

Since I’m 6 feet tall,  I tend to notice tall, lanky dudes.

Cropped screenshot of James Stewart from the t...

Cropped screenshot of James Stewart from the trailer for the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I thought about other tall, lanky dudes.  My favorite is James Stewart (6’3″).  He was particularly lanky in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life.  I love it when he stretches out his hands and arms to express himself when he talks.

And although Richard Armitage is tall (6′ 2 1/2″), he doesn’t look  “lanky.”  He’s too  muscular for that, although he was almost lanky in Spooks Series 7.

A modern lanky actor?  Paul Bettany (6’3″).  I understand that he bulked up for some recent roles, but I think naturally he has a thinner look.

Which is not to say that short, stocky men can’t be charming, too, but that’s a post for another day.  And with The Hobbit looming, I might mention a dwarf or two.

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English: Wedding cake

English: Wedding cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is something wonderfully romantic about weddings.  Two people making a serious, legal commitment to love each other and take care of each other.  I’m in the middle of a manuscript that has a wedding (no big surprise there) and I’m thinking about some of my favorite weddings in books and film.   Many spoilers below….

♫ 'How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?' ♫

♫ ‘How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?’ ♫ (Photo credit: marragem)

Sound of Music.  Beautiful wedding scene — great dress, great church — until they sing, “How do you solve a problem like Maria??? ” I always thought that was weird.  And funny.

Pride and PrejudiceColin Firth finally kissing Jennifer Ehle after the minister marries the two couples and the camera cuts to a sour faced Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  Great stuff.

It’s a Wonderful Life.  George Bailey getting married in the rain.  Mary’s grumpy mother watching it all and crying because she doesn’t want Mary to marry George.

Runaway Bride.  Although I’m not sure all those fantastically overdone almost-weddings count.  But they’re fun.  I loved her escaping in the FedEx truck.

Jane Eyre.   The absolute best almost-wedding, ever.  Great in the book and all the film versions.

Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews/Jane Seymour version)  Great scene when Percy discovers on his wedding day that his wonderful wife sent people to the guillotine.   My favorite scene with Anthony Andrews.  Give me a heartbroken, angsty handsome man who must hide his feelings.  I love it.

Cropped screenshot of Myrna Loy from the trail...

Cropped screenshot of Myrna Loy from the trailer for the film The Best Years of Our Lives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Best Years of Our Lives.  Sweet, sweet wedding, which reminds us of what true love is.  And I will say again that I want to be Myrna Loy when I grow up.

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Ah, the value of a preposition.  There is a world of difference between “getting the ex back” and “getting back at the ex.”  Personally, I don’t mind a good revenge story (First Wives Club, anyone?), but I like stories where a couple gets back together.

The Parent Trap (1998 film)

The Parent Trap (1998 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan was a fun movie, and I particularly enjoyed Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid as her parents.  Their confused, befuddled and rekindled romance was charming.   Shakespeare liked reunited lovers, too, and Much Ado has references to the prior attraction having grown sour. 

What a Girl Wants, was a genuinely silly movie, but again, I found the adults’ romance charming.  Colin Firth was particularly endearing.

Philadelphia Story

Philadelphia Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favorite reunited husband and wife film is The PHILADELPHIA STORY.   It is in my top three movie list, and depending upon the day, it sometimes battles its way to the number one spot.   I adore this movie because it is funny, but it also deals with painful truths.  C.K. Dexter Haven (played by the enigmatic Cary Grant)  is a recovering alcoholic who interrupts his ex-wife’s wedding preparations.  

James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn in The Phi...

James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story trailer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thematically, we know what should happen, but then a brilliant young writer (James Stewart) shows up, and it is unclear until the last moment what the ex-wife (Katharine Hepburn) will do.  

My novel Her Ex Next Door is less complicated, but there were moments in the creation of it when I thought of Cary Grant fondly.

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