Saturday, 28 July 2012

Fresh from Cinema.. ..A Foreign Affair

Some of you might remember that in the beginning of this year I was ardently telling you about a series of a Hanover, Germany cinema which was called Filmcafe and which showed classic films. Well.. I do not know what happened but after they showed CASABLANCA (USA, 1942) which I enjoyed tremendously of course - they never went on with classic films there. (Shame on them.. well.. Now I spent my money on other things..) 

After all there are several cinemas in Hanover and one of my favourites is a very small cinema showing a really interesting program aside from the big blockbuster films.. Usually they show of course recent films - but now and then.. Well.. - last week I was unbelievable lucky to get the chance to see a classic there:

by one of my favourite directors: Billy Wilder.

In a nut-shell:

Berlin, Post WWII. Congress woman Phoebe Frost (Jean Arthur) comes alongside with some other congress members to investigate the morals of the G.I.s in occupied Berlin. Soon she finds out that night club singer Erika von Schlütow (Marlene Dietrich) - who once was the girlfriend of a high-ranked Nazi - now is protected by an US officer.. To learn more she asks Captain John Pringle (John Lund) to be of help - not knowing that he is Erika's lover.. Things get really complicated when Phoebe falls for John - and John finds out that his heart merely beats for a little congress woman from Iowa than for a German Fräulein..

~ Well.. who of those three might be not aware of the real situation?? ... ~

Do you like...

... Billy Wilder films?

... Jean Arthur?

... films set post WWII?

... Marlene Dietrich?

... German Fräuleins and G.I.s?

...well - maybe you should watch this film!

~ Notice something there, Miss Arthur? ~

You know that I am always honest about my feelings and everything else - so I have to admit that I was not too ethusiastic when I first saw this film years ago. Maybe it was simply to cynical for me.. And yes.. since I am a German Fräulein myself in a certain way it was kind of hard for me to see how all those characters seemed to act just out of egoism. Yes.. I know.. Quite naïve.. Well.. Over the years I just grew fond of this film. I really do like it - and that I now had the opportunity to see it on big screen made it even better for me. 
Since I love the "German Fräulein (and allied Soldier resp. G.I.)" theme that much I might do a little series about that.. I will have to think about how that one could look...

~ G.I.s chatting up giggling German Fräuleins.. ~

I love Erika von Schlütow.. Though having a family name with an Umlaut apparently is kind of vulgar in Phoebe Frost's point of view.. Fräulein von Schlütow for sure knows how to survive.. and believe me when Marlene Dietrich says: "Oh.. Johnny..." even a German accent can be sexy.. I could listen to her saying that over and over again.. She makes "Johnny" one of the most attractive names ever.. sorry.. now I am rambling.. you really have to hear it.. And: yes.. somehow I can relate to her.. maybe it's just the national background.. I do not know.. Oh - and please: have a good look at post war Berlin... It looks at the same time creepy and kind of poetic.. 

~  Millard Mitchell as Col. Rufus J. Plummer
showing destroyed Berlin to congress men (and woman)..  ~

Jean Arthur is very, very cute as Phoebe Frost - and she really has some unbelievable funny scenes.. like in the beginning of the film when she puts her things away - completely deadpan and very, very long-winded.. Jean Arthur is one of the most funny actresses I know. 

~ yes.. a key scene.. indeed.. ~

Also John Lund is quite good in his part - though he has the bad luck to star against two great leading ladies.. Millard Mitchell who plays his superior has some quite funny lines in this film - and for sure will give most of you some laughs.. Please watch out for the pianist in this film - like in Billy Wilder's ONE, TWO, THREE (USA, 1961) it's Friedrich Hollaender. You will hear one of Billy Wilder's themes as this film also has the melody of "Isn't it romantic?" - a song I really like.. There are a lot great songs in this film - and even Jean Arthur will be singing..

~ getting sentimental - and musical.. ~

To see classics on big screen is something I really enjoy - it is great to sit in a room with others who will laugh at scenes or shriek at several moments just like you.. It brings a film to live - and I will not even start to tell you how marvellous it is to see those beautiful classic ladies in all their charms like that..

~ Marlene - and her good friend Friedrich Hollaender at the piano ~

As most of you will know the filming wasn't too harmonic since Jean Arthur and Marlene Dietrich didn't get along too well - and also Billy Wilder who got his nerves worn out stated later:

"I have one dame who is afraid to look at herself in a mirror and another who won't stop looking!

I think that Billy Wilder was a genius when it comes to films - but not neccessarely a gentleman or easy to be with - and for sure no genius in diplomacy.. 

~ defenitively a kind of "Star Wars" going on.. if you pardon the pun.. ~

CASABLANCA-fans might like to watch out for Ilka Grüning - who was Mrs. Leuchtag there (the refugee German lady heading for USA with her husband). In A FOREIGN AFFAIR she played a "German wife".

~ yes.. the ways a German Fräulein works...  *wink* ... ~

At last just one little hint - when you (like me) happen to like Marlene Dietrich's Erika von Schlütow you might be interested in WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (USA, 1957) also by Billy Wilder - where she actually plays another character which is kind of related to this German Fräulein... It could be easily taken as a spin off.. ..but of course that's just my opinion..

~ sigh.. just have a look at her shoes.. no question left why I love her - hm? .. ~

Thank you very much for going with me to the movies! 



Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Seven - minus one - days of Peter Sellers (6)

Yay - here it is: the last post for my short Peter Sellers series.. I really have had fun doing this.. And yes.. I am obsessed with him.. And this series actually didn't help - to be honest.. Not that I would want help in that.. I actually like being obsessive.. When I do things I like to do them with as much verve as possible - and until they put me into the nuthouse I am going to do and enjoy that. (Nevertheless it would be awfully sweet of you to visit me there..)

Sometimes it appears like Peter Sellers started his career in the 1960's when he had his biggest film hits.. Until now I featured here on this blog only his films from that era - but he also was very busy during the 1950s.. He did some great comedies back then which had a bit of that wonderful black humour in it which I love so much.. well.. yes.. ok.. I love almost every kind of humour.. What I can not stand is Schadenfreude ( I think you might know this word..) - there are some classic comedies I cannot watch because of that.. I feel so very sorry for the characters - though it is meant to be funny.. - well.. but what I could watch and what I actually did watch and enjoy is the film I am talking about now:

THE NAKED TRUTH (UK, 1957) by Mario Zampi.

Nigel Dennis (Dennis Price - who is not related to Vincent Price - but also very nice to look at and a reliable actor.. and: yes - he is another one I like..) is publisher of a scandal magazine with the most tasteful name "Naked Truth" - and blackmails several people of London's society because of this knowledge of their "dark" secrets. Because none of them actually wants to (or can) pay him they try to ged rid of him - the ultimate way.. - which fails several times - but then they start to organize..

~ Lord Henry Mayley (Terry-Thomas) reading scandalous news... ~

I love this film - it really is full of black humour...

The characters are very well casted in my opinion.. Peter Sellers is one of Mr. Dennis' victims Sonny MacGregor - a television entertainer and a bit overavid actor.. and for each attempt to kill Mr. Dennis he appears in another disguise..

~ Sonny MacGreggor (Peter Sellers) and some of his characters.. ~

Then we have novelist Flora Ransom (Peggy Mount - as always just hilarious) who tries to do her murder like she would have written it.. I think she has the most funny lines in this film.. like when she tells her daughter Ethel (as always a very cute Joan Sims) about her past:

"I was young, beautiful - it was easy.. ..and so was I... ..ahem..."

~ Ethel Ransom (Joan Sims) and her mother Flora Ransom (Peggy Mount)
up to nothing good for Mr. Dennis.. ~

and Lord Henry Mayley (Terry-Thomas) who during his mission to get intouch with the other victim's of Mr. Dennis becomes several times a victim himself by the failed homicides.. One of my favourite quotes by him would be:

"I've always considered murder to be rather un-English. I mean, one's got to draw the line somewhere, hasn't one?"

~ Sonny and Lord Henry Mayley working out an alibi.. ~

For the eye we have Shirley Eaton as another blackmailed victim of Mr. Dennis.. She might be best-known for an appearance in GOLDFINGER (UK, 1964) - wearing not much more but golden colour.. 

~ a very young Kenneth Griffith and Peter Sellers.. ~

Amd for those of you who are fans of more recent British Comedies you might like to watch out for Kenneth Griffith - who until his death in 2006 made quite a career in playing grumpy old men as in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL (UK, 1994) or THE ENGLISHMAN WHO WENT UP A HILL BUT CAME DOWN A MOUNTAIN (UK, 1995).

All in all a classic British cast in 91 minutes of a cute little black comedy.. 

So - that was my little series about Peter Sellers - and there are so many films left I would love to talk about.. maybe another time.. 

If there are suggestions on a special actor/actress/theme you would like me to write about - just say so.. For sure I have Romy Schneider, Marlon Brando and Brigitte Bardot waiting in line.. 

Thank you very much for listening


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Seven - minus one - days of.. ..Peter Sellers (5)

Say.. How come it is Saturday allready??? Really.. I am sorry.. The last days my life just seems to.. ..I even don't know how to put it - but I did have no time to write posts.. But here I am again - and on a Saturday - which means we will be Swinging with a Star.. 

and since my Seven - minus one - days of.. ..Peter Sellers series is still going on here - you can be sure he will be our swinging guest today..

- but he does not appear here on his own - no! He brought with him Sophia Loren - and together they sing a song from their film THE MILLIONAIRES (UK 1960)..

~ this is a still from my favourite scene of the film
- when Sophia Loren  disrobes for getting an examination.. ~

Peter Sellers really had a crush on her.. But sadly it was not mutual.. I did say that I love the sad parts of his character and life best - didn't I? A love unaccomplished.. gee.. that's so my kind of love story..

The featured song today is actually a song I really love - it was one of my favourites when I was a child - and still it can make me smile.. I hope it can make you smile, too - here they are Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers singing


Thank you very much for listening!

Have a wonderful weekend - filled with the sweetest sorts of heartbeats!! 


Monday, 16 July 2012

Seven - minus one - days of.. ..Peter Sellers (4)

It's Monday.. (sadly it is..) and usually on Mondays I have my series "Let's start with a smile" which features pictures I consider funny - or which made me smile.. 

On the other hand.. I am doing this series about Peter Sellers.. and because I am perfectly weird I love him best in his calm moments.. then when his sadness becomes visible.. Believe me I love having fun and being funny and all that but when Peter Sellers becomes quiet I can feel my heart beat.. Ok.. ok.. I'll stop that kitschy opera.. 

Now we all start to smile with (and maybe about) Peter Sellers:

For the highbrowed:

For the Cynics:

  For the lovers:

For tea-drinkers

For fans of coffee

For the young

For the Beatles - well.. or just for Ringo..

For the musical purists.. (I for one have a real soft spot for bassists... but well..)

I guess that will be enough for the moment..

Thank you very much for listening!


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Seven - minus one - days of.. ..Peter Sellers (3)

Yes.. here it is! The 3rd post of six about Peter Sellers.. And again I did not make it in time - so I have to try to maybe post another Peter Sellers post today.. Well.. I could imagine doing more dreadful things..

And as you by now were all expecting - you did, didn't you?? - is the film I am writing now

WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? (USA, 1965) by Clive Donner and Richard Talmadge.

I love the taglines of this poster - and I hope you noticed them: 

"Pussycats will purr-r-r-r and tigers will r-r-roar...

and under that list of the cast: 

"They're all together again! (for the first time!)"

It was the first film Woody Allen wrote - and the first he appeared in - and also the first film I ever saw him in (which is of course the most important info for you here.. No doubt in that..).

~ Peter O'Toole - really in trouble.. ~

Paris, France: Michael James (Peter O'Toole) has a serious problem: Women go after him.. Well.. that's not the actual problem since he enjoys that.. The problem is: His girlfriend Carole (Romy Schneider) would like to marry him - but he is afraid he is not strong enough to resist.. So he tries to get helpt from psychoanalyst Dr. Fassbender (Peter Sellers)..  But also the Doctor has his troubles since he is madly in love with one of his patients Renée LeFébvre (Capucine who was with Peter Sellers in THE PINK PANTER (1963), too -and who's birth name actually is Germaine LeFébvre..) - much to the chagrin of his Valkyrie wife.. And then there is Michael's not so successful friend Victor (Woody Allen) - who would love to make a pass on Carol.. Not helpful for Michael is that neurotic stripper Liz Bien (Paula Prentiss again in a film with Peter Sellers..) and parachutist Rita (Ursula Andress) take some interest in him - and he really has troubles to say no.. And Carole isn't actually naive.. 

~ Do not know what to do? .. ~

~ Oh come on, Peter O'Toole! Don't play hard to get with Paula Prentiss.. ~

I absolutely love the cast of this film! When I was talking with Monty about it he noticed that it had with Mr. Sellers and Mr. O'Toole two Peters in the lead.. He is right.. But they are so amazingly different from type and (film-) character.. And yes.. I actually prefer Peter Sellers - though his hairstyle here is one of the most awful I ever saw.. I am really not too much into long hair on men....

~ Peter ² - or: Another friendship baptized with some liquor.. ~

Of course I am very pleased to have one of my number one actresses - my beloved Romy Schneider in one of the most important female parts of this film.. I really, really love her - and her Carole really isn't the typical prissy fiancée.. Besides that she makes one of the most funny and dangerous looiking  stunts when her characater passes out highly drunk.. Oh - and in the moment she finds Capucine sprawling in Peter O'Tooles bed.. Her look is so utterly ironic - I think it might be the most funny scene in the whole film...

~ a most attractive and funny cast this is.. ~

Anyway the actresses in this film are outstanding as we have the wonderful Capucine and Ursula Andress - incredibly sexy - and I might repeat myself: but I think Paula Prentiss might be one of the funniest women ever.. Come to think of it: All the female characters in this film are really funny..

~ Guess what she is wearin? ... that's right - a cap.... .... ~

When you watch this film - please, watch out for Richard Burton who will talk to Peter O'Toole in the bar scene - and one of my favourite French singers Françoise Hardy has a small part in the last scene when Peter Sellers tries to make a pass on her..

This film actually is a bit semi-autobiographical since it is based a bit on Warren Beatty - he used the line "What's new, Pussycat?" very often it seems - he was to play the lead part - but backed out when his part was getting smaller and his then girl friend Leslie Caron was not casted.. Well.. for me since I am not so fond of Warren Beatty I think it's great that he stepped out on this one.. I actually cannot really see his charme anyway.. 

~ Having troubles with females, too - Woody Allen with Romy Schneider.. ~

Woody Allen as Victor is quite funny, too.. Poor chum.. Wanting to get some loving.. and always has to take  backseat to Peter O'Toole.. The scene of Victor's birthday party was actually filmed on Woody Allen's 29th birthday.. my, my.. time flies..

And maybe now it is time for another confession.. (Honestly - I confess so much on this blog that I think I will have to think about re-naming it into something like: "Confessions of a German Fräulein".. hm.. a new series ahead?): Peter O'Toole is not actually my cup of tea - lookwise.. I am simply not soo much into those pretty boys.. - but in the moment he first appears in the screen I hear myself gasp  - every time I watch this film....

~ "Look, I know you'll think this is crazy.. but.. er.. when the light hits me from a certain direction..
- I'm handsome...
" .... yes.. very good light in this film.. ~

And yes: I was a bit shocked when Peter O'Toole announced this week that he retires from movie making..

~ Capucine - absolutely stunning.. ~

Of course the dialogues are very funny - it is a Woody Allen film after all..

Have some examples...

Liz Bien (hehehe.. I adore that name..) and Michael James having a little dialogue:

Liz: "You're right. I must face my problems. I can't go through life being a semi-virgin."

Michael: "What - in the name of all that is gracious - is a 'semi-virgin'??"

Liz: "Here I'm a virgin. In America I'm not."

Michael: "What do they do? Stamp it on your passport?"

Victor: "We played strip chess. She had me down to my shorts and I fainted from tension."


Dr. Fassbender (yes.. I am pleased with that name..) esplains to Michael how it could happen that they meet in a strip club:

Dr. Fassbender: "I.. uhm.. decided to follow you here."

Michael: "... If you followed me here - how did you contrive to be here before me??"

Dr. Fassbender: "I followed you.. ... ..very fast."


I also love one sentence which Peter Sellers ad-libbed as he refered to Ursula Andress, who was in DR. NO  (1962) saying that she knew James Bond.. It made her laugh, too... 

~ ... na caption needed, I guess.. ~

You will hear a lot of accents in this film - and I hope that mine sounds a little bit like Romy Schneider's and not like Dr. Fassbender's.. 

Though in my opinion in the end it's almost a bit too much of crazy slapstick in this film I highly recommend it - and seeing how much fun Romy Schneider had playing this makes good for all the silliness in my opinion.. Well.. when she is happy I am happy too, I guess...

So - if you like to take a deep breath and take the plunge to watch 108 minutes of complete craziness..

Thank you so very much for listening


~ not exactely the expression I meant.. but well..  ~

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Little Calendar Girl - Friday 13

Haha.. gottcha! In case you were reading my last post with Peter Sellers and the cats you might have guessed that I was writing about WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT (France/ USA, 1965) now.. Well. no.. I am not.. This is the one day off Peter Sellers post! Yesterday was Friday 13 - and I want to share one film with you which is actually set on this date. For those who do not know: Little Calendar Girl is a new series on this blog dealing with films matching a certain date - or maybe theme.. Actually this post was planned for yesterday - but I had some troubles here.. So please forgive me the delay.. And since the idea was to post it yesterday I will have to break a rule which says not to post more than one post a day and post another post for my Peter Sellers series later on today.. 

Now I know that a lot people would consider Friday 13 a day for horror flicks (I am with you on that just by the way.. I like it when films give me a little bit the creeps.. more fun with someone to hide behind of course..) - still there are a lot of people out there who would prefer something more... uhm.. nice. So while I guess that there are billions of blogs out there helping you to find the perfect Friday 13 horror film - I chose something completely different..

Since this film is also kind of an advertisement film for this certain continent  I will make it another entry of mine for Monty's Cinematic World Tour Blogathon.. 

The film I will recommend is

THE THREE CABALLEROS (USA, 1944) by Norman Ferguson 

It's just a small detail - but it is true: this film is set on a Friday 13.. It's Donald Duck's birthday and he receives presents from his cousins from South America.. Of course this presents contain little Disney films - all set in South America.. Like the story of Pablo - a little penguin who does not like the cold weather at South Pole and travels north with his best friend (an oven by the wonderful name of Smoky Joe..).. 

~ The sequence of Pablo and Smoky Joe is narrated by matchless
 Sterling Holloway.. ~

Or we have the story of Gauchito and his flying donkey..

~ Gauchito meets his future best friend - and partner in crime.. ~
Besides these stories there are Donald's cousins actually visiting him: José Carioca of Brazil and Panchito of Mexico. Together they will also travel to several spots of South America - and this time it'll be a mixture of trick sequences and real persons.. To be honest: those are my favourite parts of this film - especially a scene in which Donald chases bikini girls in Acapulco..

But actually all the girls in this film are really gorgeous - and Donald surely thinks so, too - well.. as said in the film: he really is "a little wolf in duck's clothing"... 

I am highly fascinated by the fact that those stories all have very different styles.. Just compare these:

And how about this one:

Isn't that just beautiful?? Also the music just makes me feel very.. I do not know....

And as I told you - I love the scenes which contain all those beautiful girls best.. have a little example here:

Don't you just love when Donald wents up to that girl and starts his flirt with: "Hi, toots!"??  Also his dancing style is soo very, very 40s.. Well.. you might be aware that the 1940's are one of my favourite decades..

The ladies who star in this film were 

Aurora Miranda of Brazil, 

Carmen Molina of Mexico


Dora Luz also of Mexico

and for those of you who are interested into faces to the voices you'll hear:

Donald Duck is spoken by...

Clarence Nash

José Carioca 


José Oliveira - here he is with his film alter ego - and Donald Duck with Walt Disney..




Joaquin Guaray 
- who must have been one of the best looking fellas in the whole world of this decade..

I think this film is lovely - of course it is full of clichées.. but still I like it.. it's beautiful like a fairytale.. 

And for those who by now actually want to see the whole film - here you are.. 71 minutes of South American fantasies.. Enjoy!:

(You are welcome..)

I hope you enjoyed your Friday 13!

Thank you so very much for visiting!