Friday, October 12, 2018

And Then I Saw

I did a challenge on Facebook recently.  People were asked to post pictures of their 10 most influential films, in no particular order. Films that really made an impact personally, and are still on my rotation list, even if only now and then.  I thought I would share some of them.  I won't talk about A Star Is Born because I've done that enough.

The Seventh Veil.  I saw this in grammar school.  I know this because Ann Todd is a pianist and I was taking piano lessons at the time and one piece I played, by Haydn, always reminded me of this movie.

After attempting suicide Francesca, once a world-famed pianist undergoes psychotherapy, trying to figure out what drove her to that decision.  It is revealed that she was sent to live with her cousin, a stern taskmaster who controlled her life, and thwarted her attempt to marry a man she thought she loved.

Mason is the cousin, cold, distant, and cruel, hiding his feelings for her.  I developed a big crush on James Mason after seeing this movie I guess I always had a thing for this kind of character.

A Private Function.  I really don't remember a lot about this movie, except that it was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.  It takes place in England during WWII when there is strict rationing and a couple become involved with the bacon black market. 

Somehow they come into possession of a pig, which is definitely against the law but they decide to slaughter him and eat him themselves.

The vision of Maggie Smith chasing this pig around the house with an exacto-knife, the only sharp implement she had available, still makes me laugh.

The Blue Veil. This is a real tear jerker about a woman whose husband dies in the war while she is expecting their first child.  Things go wrong during the delivery and the baby dies, and she herself is unable to have more children.

She finds a job as a nanny and throughout her life takes care of a succession of young children, leaving when they no longer need a nanny. When she is too old to be a nanny any more, one of her former charges meets her and arranges for many of those now adult kids to come back to honor her--and one of them has children for her to care for.

I always thought how neat it would be for there to be a gathering of a lot of foreign students who lived here back in the 1980s.

Interrupted Melody.  I drove my mother nuts after seeing this movie.  It's the story of Australian opera singer Marjorie Lawrence and her battle with polio, how she eventually overcomes it and returns to the stage.

The finale scene is from Gotterdammerung and she gets so emotionally involved playing the scene that she stands for the first time  Very climactic.

After that movie I decided I was going to become an opera singer, tho I had no talent whatsoever, and spent evenings while doing the dishes singing scales, trying to hit high notes until my mother begged me to stop.

The Nun's Story.  I don't remember if I wanted to be a nun before or only after seeing this movie, but I saw it during the period of time when I knew I wanted to go into the convent.  Ultimately I wanted to be a Daughter of Charity, who were my teachers (think "Flying Nun") but after seeing this movie, I wanted to be a missionary in Africa.
Of course I hate the way she is treated, as some sort of leper, after she decides to leave the convent (and a book I read recently about someone who left the Daughters of Charity) made me glad ultimately that I made a different decision.

The Quiet Man.  Is there any female who saw this movie in the 1950s who didn't love it? I felt my Irish roots tugging at me, I tried to dye my hair auburn to look like Maureen O'Hara (but it turned out more bronze-purple) and I just loved every minute of it.

Seeing it with eyes today, I see how little women are valued, how corporal punishment is encouraged and how, really, it's an awful story, but I still watch it if it comes on.  It did make me love Ireland, many years before I visited it, however.

Dave.  I love this movie and wish, frequently these days, that it were possible today.  The president has a stroke and his handlers don't want to let the country know, so they hire a look-alike to stand in for him until he recovers.  Only a very few people know what is going on (his wife eventually figures it out).

As Dave gets into the role of president, he begins to make changes in the government, cutting back expensive programs to give poor kids meals at school, calling his buddy to come in and help him balance the budget, etc.

He can't continue indefinitely, of course, but the conclusion is a good one and the president (who eventually dies without regaining consciousness) goes down in history as a good president, not the jerk he actually was.  Ahhh...if only....  But where could one find a Trump look-alike!

There were a few more on the list, but that's enough for this entry.  It was fun thinking about movies that affected me throughout my life--and why

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