I am almost ashamed for writing this, but I do not dislike this film. Not at all. Costner nails the aloof, edgy, principled bodyguard and gets the audience on his side – right before he goes and nails Whitney. After that it is all rather more formulaic. Rather bizarrely, I’ve always liked eating apples with knives since I first saw this film many years ago. It makes me feel tough. Like Kev. The soundtrack will definitely appeal to all those wannabe divas out there… Oh I feel dirty writing this, but it is good. “And I-eee-I Will Alllllllwaaaays Loooooooooove yoouououoooouoo…” Well, you get the drift.
Having been slightly underwhelmed by so many classics in the past few months, I was reserved about revisiting a film that I hadn’t seen since I was 16 years old and of which I expected so much. Boy how I misjudged that one: Films just don’t get much better than this. Humphrey Bogart is the king of cool and he is chasing one of the most attractive and alluring film stars of all time in Ingrid Bergman. The screenplay is spot on with witty banter and quick paced dialogue (justly winning the ‘Best Writing’ Oscar), particularly between Bogie and Bergman and Bogie and Claude Rains – in fact, between Bogie and anyone he talks to. It is no wonder that this film has coined no less than six of the AFI’s Top 100 Movie Quotes. The storyline too, keeps you guessing, with twists and turns aplenty – right down to the final line. There are many truly memorable scenes, but of particular note is when ‘Marseillaise’ is sung drowning out the German’s bullish, insensitive and antagonistic rendition of ‘Watch on the Rhine’: stirring, impassioned and extremely powerful. This is bloody good cinema, a true classic. Thank God that for film that 'We’ll always have Casablanca'.
What an introduction to the world Audrey Hepburn gives in Roman Holiday as a princess who wants more from life than administrable duties. She is nothing short of enchanting and it is no wonder that she both launched a successful career (winning a Best Actress Oscar) and captured many hearts worldwide out of this performance. On the subject of the Academy Awards, comment must also go to Edith Head’s costume design: One of the eight statues she received in her lifetime, out of a staggering 35 nominations. Both tally’s being records for the highest number ever achieved by a woman in the history of cinema. This film, as well as being a tribute to Rome (all shot in location), is amusing, engaging and just plain fun.
Most famous for being the first film ever to win ‘The Big 5’ at the Oscars, a feat that has only been twice (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs being the other two) so you know you are in for something special. Reputed as being the first ever screwball comedy, this is essentially a road trip come romantic comedy. Of course everyone knows the plot projection of the rom-com these days… 1. Two totally different people meet and annoy each other 2. These two people fall in love 3. One of them goes off with someone else 4. They get together and we’re all incredibly happy about it. This, of course, being one of the first of its kind is no different. But the fun is not in the plot, but in the dialogue and in the banter shared between Gable and Colbert. The ‘improvised’ scene in the motel when the detectives come to see if the spoiled heiress is in hiding is brilliantly charged with emotion and humour. Capra knows how to make a film well – as he clearly shows in this record setting film. Connolly is excellent as Colbert’s father, bringing real humour to all his scenes.
Another great Hitchcock film. But then, aren’t they all? This is perhaps a little more predictable than some of his other thrillers (I picked the ending half way through), but there is much to appreciate here… The setting in the south of France just makes me want to go and holiday there right now, his sweeping panoramic shots over the crystal clear waters with the rustic countryside roofs below are mouth-watering. No wonder it won an Oscar for cinematography (it’s a surprise that Edith Head didn’t win the Oscar for best costume (colour), with the amount of stunning dresses on show here – and that doesn’t normally interest me at all). Also wonderful is the timeless chemistry between the always great Cary Grant and the mesmerising Grace Kelly – they must rank here as one of the best on-screen couples with their flirtatious banter (some of which was improvised). One protest: why is all the French dialogue not subtitled? I want to know what is going on in these scenes and feel I am missing out. Interesting that Grant slaps a woman here too (as well as in Notorious ) and manages to do so with an air of deserving style. In fear of sounding exceedingly misogynistic I don’t want to dwell on it, but I did secretly cheer when he delivered the blow as it was well warranted and came as a surprise. I smiled too when he wanted to slap the French elderly flower vendor when being chased by the police in the market, but he gallantly thought twice and resigned himself to being arrested instead. Some good subtle humour from Hitchcock in amongst the flirting and chasing.
Another lonely voice on the internet.