All in Cinematters

Movie Morsel: High, Wide and Handsome

An early movie musical (in black and white-gasp!) that is worth a look (if you can find it) is Paramount Pictures’ High, Wide, and Handsome. The epic tale features a score by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, II who also worked together to write one of Broadway’s most prolific scores, Show Boat. Made in 1937 (ten years after Show Boat), High, Wide, and Handsome was directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who would go on to direct the original Broadway productions of Oklahoma! and Carousel.

Movie Morsel: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

In 1990, a play opened Off-Broadway and then moved to Broadway called Six Degrees of Separation. Written by playwright John Guare, the piece was well-praised by critics and popular with audiences. It ventured to explore the theory that we are all connected to one another in this world through (at the most) six people. It just requires the right configuration of six. As the play’s popularity grew and a film was made, a parlor game emerged called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. It alleged that all film celebrities could be traced to the actor Kevin Bacon through (at the most) six people.

Movie Morsel: Ladybug Ladybug

Have you ever stumbled upon an older film that you have never heard of and decide to give it a try? Then you watch the movie and you find yourself completely riveted? That is what happened to me when I came across Ladybug Ladybug. It’s a small film, there is nothing lavish about it, but it definitely crept into my psyche and has stayed there for years. Made in 1964 and directed by Academy Award nominated director Frank Perry, the film is a chilling exploration of the Cold War and how it promised unbelievable horrors.

Movie Morsel: Throw Momma From the Train

People always ask me what my favorite film comedy is. I always reply, “Do you mean classic comedy or contemporary comedy?” If they answer, “classic”, I always reply with My Man Godfrey, one of the most sparkling, intellectual, and downright downright wacky film comedies of early Hollywood (it was made in 1936). If their answer is “contemporary”, I immediately announce Throw Momma From the Train as my choice. For the same reasons that I love My Man Godfrey, I marvel at the humor, timing, and insanity that just makes Throw Momma From the Train special. It allows itself to be entirely human and entirely wacko at the same time. It gets at the heart of who we are as people and how we let our egos control who we are. That’s funny stuff. We need to laugh at ourselves.