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August 2, Lucille Ball Day!


speedracer5
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I'm so happy that Aug 2 is dedicated to Lucille Ball.  She is my absolute favorite actress of all time.  While of course, she's my favorite for her role of Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy, she also had a large film career prior to her legend-making role in her pioneering 1950s sitcom.  She proved herself a skilled actress in her 20 years of film-making prior to her television career.  She only made a handful of films during her television career, The Long, Long Trailer being the best one, in my opinion. 

 

My picks, pans and recordings for Lucy Day:

 

PICKS

 

The Long, Long Trailer.  My absolute favorite film of all time.  It's basically a big long I Love Lucy episode in color, but it is hilarious.  I've seen it at least a hundred times (not exaggerating), I wrote the VHS out, but fortunately have it on DVD now.  I love this movie.  It features Lucy and Desi as a newlywed couple who purchase an enormous trailer (40 feet of train!) and plan to spend their honeymoon driving from So. Cal to Colorado to where Desi's company will be stationed for the project he's been assigned to.  Their mishaps along the way (everything from spending the night stuck almost sideways in the mud, to Lucy trying to cook in the back while Desi drives, to Desi being forced to host an impromptu house party while wife Lucy is passed out in the bedroom due Marjorie Main slipping her sleeping pills), this film is just plain fun.

 

The Affairs of Annabel.  This 1938 B-comedy co-starring Jack Oakie, is Lucy's first starring role.  Her comedic skills are evident in this enjoyable film.  Lucy portrays Annabel Alison, a film star.  Oakie is Lucy's publicity agent who gets her roped into one crazy publicity scheme after another just to promote her latest film.  Lucy's latest film will have her starring as a maid.  To promote the film, Oakie gets Lucy a job as a maid in a wealthy family, despite the fact that Lucy has no idea how to cook, clean or do anything else that a maid would do.  She ends up getting involved in a foiled kidnapping plot and the family is taken hostage.  This film was successful enough that RKO planned to make a series of 'Annabel' films.  The second film in the series was Annabel Takes a Tour.  Which frankly is not nearly as good as the first film.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, if the films were going to continue to decline in quality), Oakie demanded too much money to continue with the series.  It was decided to end the series.

 

The Next Time I Marry.  Another B-list feature, it's an enjoyable film.  It's also short, only 65 mins! In this film, Lucy portrays a spoiled heiress who per the terms in her father's will, must marry an average man and dump her rich fortune hunter boyfriend (whom the father obviously didn't like or trust) in order to get her inheritance.  The plot is predictable, in that Lucy makes the financial agreement with the man and both can't stand each other at first, but are only in it for the money.  There is a funny scene in the film that is reminiscent of The Long, Long Trailer, where Lucy is caught in the back of a moving trailer.  

 

Five Came Back.  An excellent but underrated film from 1939.  Considering what else came out in 1939 (Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, to name a couple), it's easy to see how this small RKO adventure film is not as well known.  In this film, Lucy is one of twelve passengers who is on a flight that crash lands in the Amazon jungle.  The passengers manage to repair the airplane, but it is determined that due to the limited fuel and new weight restrictions (due to the new "improvements" made to the plane), they can only bring five passengers back to the US.  Which five will come back? 

 

The Dark Corner.  An excellent Fox noir featuring Lucy, Clifton Webb and William Bendix.  In this film, Lucy plays a secretary who helps her boss, Mark Stevens, escape a phony murder charge after he's framed.

 

Yours, Mine and Ours.  Lucy's second best post-I Love Lucy film.  This film features Lucy as a widow with eight children who marries Henry Fonda, a widower with ten children.  The comedy comes from the household having eighteen children and how Lucy and Fonda try to make it work.  Van Johnson portrays a co-worker of Lucy and Fonda's and he is funny as the comic relief in the film.  My favorite of the eighteen kids is poor Phillip.  The poor guy can't catch a break.  One of the funniest scenes in the film, is when Fonda is giving all the kids their bed and bath assignments. "I'm 11 red A" says one girl. 

 

PANS

 

Forever Darling.  Lucy and Desi's third and final film together and I hate to say it, this is their worst film.  It's not really that funny and frankly, I find it somewhat depressing, because Lucy and Desi seem to be arguing and fighting the entire time.  There are some amusing scenes like the camping scene and the scenes with James Mason, Lucy's guardian angel, but over all, this film is not very good.  By the point that this film was made (1956), Lucy and Desi's marriage was crumbling and sadly, I think it is evident in this film.  The strain of their marriage is especially evident in the thirteen episodes of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.  

 

Best Foot Forward.  Lucy plays a fictionalized version of herself in this film.  A military academy is having a dance and one of the cadets writes "Lucille Ball" a letter, inviting her to the dance as his date.  Lucy, on a lark, agrees to attend.  This sends the school into a tizzy knowing that a famous actress is attending.  The conflict of the film is that the cadet, not thinking that Lucille Ball would actually attend, has already invited his "best girl" to the dance.  There are some funny bits, like with a young Nancy Walker (Rhoda Morgenstern's mother, Ida in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda).  But overall, I thought this film was kind of boring.

 

Mame.  I actually haven't seen this movie in its entirety.  I've only seen bits and pieces.  But Lucy cannot match Rosalind Russell's portrayal of Mame.  Sorry Lucy, Roz wins this one. I do love Bea Arthur though.

 

The Big Street.  Okay, it's not really a pan persay, the film is good.  It features Lucy as a nightclub singer and Fonda has a nightclub waiter in love with Lucy.  Lucy is a total b-(rhymes with witch) to Fonda in this film and he loves her despite how she treats him.  She ends up getting injured during a performance and Fonda dedicates himself to helping her.  I just find this film depressing and don't seek it out to watch.  Maybe I need to give it another chance.

 

RECORDINGS

 

Beauty For the Asking, despite my thinking that Patric Knowles is about as exciting as an unflavored rice cake, I haven't seen this Lucy film yet, so I'm recording it.

 

That's Right, You're Wrong.  I like May Robson, she portrays those cranky old woman roles so well. I like films about Hollywood, so this may be an enjoyable, if lightweight, film.

 

A Girl, A Guy and A Gob.  This film sounds interesting.  It features Lucy in a love triangle with Edmond O'Brien and George Murphy.  Lucy plays a zany stenographer.  Harold Lloyd produced the film.

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She's great in THE DARK CORNER. And don't miss WITHOUT LOVE (1945). It's one of Tracy and Hepburn's weaker efforts, but it's redeemed by Lucy and Keenan Wynn. She proves that she can be funny without mugging.

 

I'm so happy that Aug 2 is dedicated to Lucille Ball.  She is my absolute favorite actress of all time.  While of course, she's my favorite for her role of Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy, she also had a large film career prior to her legend-making role in her pioneering 1950s sitcom.  She proved herself a skilled actress in her 20 years of film-making prior to her television career.  She only made a handful of films during her television career, The Long, Long Trailer being the best one, in my opinion. 

 

My picks, pans and recordings for Lucy Day:

 

PICKS

 

The Long, Long Trailer.  My absolute favorite film of all time.  It's basically a big long I Love Lucy episode in color, but it is hilarious.  I've seen it at least a hundred times (not exaggerating), I wrote the VHS out, but fortunately have it on DVD now.  I love this movie.  It features Lucy and Desi as a newlywed couple who purchase an enormous trailer (40 feet of train!) and plan to spend their honeymoon driving from So. Cal to Colorado to where Desi's company will be stationed for the project he's been assigned to.  Their mishaps along the way (everything from spending the night stuck almost sideways in the mud, to Lucy trying to cook in the back while Desi drives, to Desi being forced to host an impromptu house party while wife Lucy is passed out in the bedroom due Marjorie Main slipping her sleeping pills), this film is just plain fun.

 

The Affairs of Annabel.  This 1938 B-comedy co-starring Jack Oakie, is Lucy's first starring role.  Her comedic skills are evident in this enjoyable film.  Lucy portrays Annabel Alison, a film star.  Oakie is Lucy's publicity agent who gets her roped into one crazy publicity scheme after another just to promote her latest film.  Lucy's latest film will have her starring as a maid.  To promote the film, Oakie gets Lucy a job as a maid in a wealthy family, despite the fact that Lucy has no idea how to cook, clean or do anything else that a maid would do.  She ends up getting involved in a foiled kidnapping plot and the family is taken hostage.  This film was successful enough that RKO planned to make a series of 'Annabel' films.  The second film in the series was Annabel Takes a Tour.  Which frankly is not nearly as good as the first film.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, if the films were going to continue to decline in quality), Oakie demanded too much money to continue with the series.  It was decided to end the series.

 

The Next Time I Marry.  Another B-list feature, it's an enjoyable film.  It's also short, only 65 mins! In this film, Lucy portrays a spoiled heiress who per the terms in her father's will, must marry an average man and dump her rich fortune hunter boyfriend (whom the father obviously didn't like or trust) in order to get her inheritance.  The plot is predictable, in that Lucy makes the financial agreement with the man and both can't stand each other at first, but are only in it for the money.  There is a funny scene in the film that is reminiscent of The Long, Long Trailer, where Lucy is caught in the back of a moving trailer.  

 

Five Came Back.  An excellent but underrated film from 1939.  Considering what else came out in 1939 (Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, to name a couple), it's easy to see how this small RKO adventure film is not as well known.  In this film, Lucy is one of twelve passengers who is on a flight that crash lands in the Amazon jungle.  The passengers manage to repair the airplane, but it is determined that due to the limited fuel and new weight restrictions (due to the new "improvements" made to the plane), they can only bring five passengers back to the US.  Which five will come back? 

 

The Dark Corner.  An excellent Fox noir featuring Lucy, Clifton Webb and William Bendix.  In this film, Lucy plays a secretary who helps her boss, Mark Stevens, escape a phony murder charge after he's framed.

 

Yours, Mine and Ours.  Lucy's second best post-I Love Lucy film.  This film features Lucy as a widow with eight children who marries Henry Fonda, a widower with ten children.  The comedy comes from the household having eighteen children and how Lucy and Fonda try to make it work.  Van Johnson portrays a co-worker of Lucy and Fonda's and he is funny as the comic relief in the film.  My favorite of the eighteen kids is poor Phillip.  The poor guy can't catch a break.  One of the funniest scenes in the film, is when Fonda is giving all the kids their bed and bath assignments. "I'm 11 red A" says one girl. 

 

PANS

 

Forever Darling.  Lucy and Desi's third and final film together and I hate to say it, this is their worst film.  It's not really that funny and frankly, I find it somewhat depressing, because Lucy and Desi seem to be arguing and fighting the entire time.  There are some amusing scenes like the camping scene and the scenes with James Mason, Lucy's guardian angel, but over all, this film is not very good.  By the point that this film was made (1956), Lucy and Desi's marriage was crumbling and sadly, I think it is evident in this film.  The strain of their marriage is especially evident in the thirteen episodes of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.  

 

Best Foot Forward.  Lucy plays a fictionalized version of herself in this film.  A military academy is having a dance and one of the cadets writes "Lucille Ball" a letter, inviting her to the dance as his date.  Lucy, on a lark, agrees to attend.  This sends the school into a tizzy knowing that a famous actress is attending.  The conflict of the film is that the cadet, not thinking that Lucille Ball would actually attend, has already invited his "best girl" to the dance.  There are some funny bits, like with a young Nancy Walker (Rhoda Morgenstern's mother, Ida in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda).  But overall, I thought this film was kind of boring.

 

Mame.  I actually haven't seen this movie in its entirety.  I've only seen bits and pieces.  But Lucy cannot match Rosalind Russell's portrayal of Mame.  Sorry Lucy, Roz wins this one. I do love Bea Arthur though.

 

The Big Street.  Okay, it's not really a pan persay, the film is good.  It features Lucy as a nightclub singer and Fonda has a nightclub waiter in love with Lucy.  Lucy is a total b-(rhymes with witch) to Fonda in this film and he loves her despite how she treats him.  She ends up getting injured during a performance and Fonda dedicates himself to helping her.  I just find this film depressing and don't seek it out to watch.  Maybe I need to give it another chance.

 

RECORDINGS

 

Beauty For the Asking, despite my thinking that Patric Knowles is about as exciting as an unflavored rice cake, I haven't seen this Lucy film yet, so I'm recording it.

 

That's Right, You're Wrong.  I like May Robson, she portrays those cranky old woman roles so well. I like films about Hollywood, so this may be an enjoyable, if lightweight, film.

 

A Girl, A Guy and A Gob.  This film sounds interesting.  It features Lucy in a love triangle with Edmond O'Brien and George Murphy.  Lucy plays a zany stenographer.  Harold Lloyd produced the film.

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So pleased to see a day of Lucy!  When watching I Love Lucy years ago my mother told me how much she'd enjoyed her movies from the forties.  The late show didn't show many of her movies so it wasn't until TCM that I was able to see her wonderful work pre-Lucy Ricardo.

 

Especially look forward to The Long, Long Trailer--I never tire of Lucy collecting those rocks, and cooking while Ricky, oblivious to the mayhem behind him, sings heartily as they barrel down the road.  Not to mention Ricky trying to park at the relatives' house!  

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So pleased to see a day of Lucy!  When watching I Love Lucy years ago my mother told me how much she'd enjoyed her movies from the forties.  The late show didn't show many of her movies so it wasn't until TCM that I was able to see her wonderful work pre-Lucy Ricardo.

 

Especially look forward to The Long, Long Trailer--I never tire of Lucy collecting those rocks, and cooking while Ricky, oblivious to the mayhem behind him, sings heartily as they barrel down the road.  Not to mention Ricky trying to park at the relatives' house!

 

And Poor Grace. Lol. My favorite two parts when Desi is trying to back in the trailer:

 

AUNT ANASTASIA to DESI: "My rose! My rose! You tore down my rose with your lousy stinkin' trailer!" Then she sobs.

 

My other favorite part is when Lucy intervenes to give direction, and she shoves that guy out of the way. Lol.

 

And why are they so mad at Desi? They're the ones who told him to back in. lol.

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And Poor Grace. Lol. My favorite two parts when Desi is trying to back in the trailer:

 

AUNT ANASTASIA to DESI: "My rose! My rose! You tore down my rose with your lousy stinkin' trailer!" Then she sobs.

 

My other favorite part is when Lucy intervenes to give direction, and she shoves that guy out of the way. Lol.

 

And why are they so mad at Desi? They're the ones who told him to back in. lol.

 

I love Madge Blake as Aunt Anastasia, she's a delightful presence in anything, love her voice.  

 

And I always love Poor Grace's facial expressions, this was probably the most exciting day of her life!

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I experienced Michael Feinstein as host for the first time. Ironic that we were comparing him and Eddie Muller, and Feinstein gets to introduce a noir, THE DARK CORNER, which would have been more appropriately introduced by Muller. I wouldn't call him unctuous, I'd call him not overly, er, macho. 

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I first saw THE LONG, LONG TRAILER for the first time back when I was about 12 on TV one night, and at that time STILL didn't know Lucille Ball had a movie career of sorts before I LOVE LUCY.

 

Never tire of it.  Yeah, both those scenes, the rock collection and her trying to cook in a moving trailer STILL crack me up, too!  :)

 

Sepiatone

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I watched most of The Dark Corner and it made me wish I'd watched the whole movie. It was good. I also watched Yours, Mine & Ours, which I saw in the theater on initial release. It's an extended sitcom but it's cute. Lucy was a little too old but she's funny and believable. It did bother me a little that of the kids that had a bit of a story in the film, the poor girl who likes to eat gets a lot of focus.

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I watched most of The Dark Corner and it made me wish I'd watched the whole movie. It was good. I also watched Yours, Mine & Ours, which I saw in the theater on initial release. It's an extended sitcom but it's cute. Lucy was a little too old but she's funny and believable. It did bother me a little that of the kids that had a bit of a story in the film, the poor girl who likes to eat gets a lot of focus.

At the risk of offending Lorna, I think I like THE DARK CORNER better than SCARLET STREET. I just found Duryea's character so annoying, and I didn't like Bennett's performance that much.

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I experienced Michael Feinstein as host for the first time. Ironic that we were comparing him and Eddie Muller, and Feinstein gets to introduce a noir, THE DARK CORNER, which would have been more appropriately introduced by Muller. I wouldn't call him unctuous, I'd call him not overly, er, macho.

 

Fra--

 

You mustn't be too hard on Michael, after all a macho good- looking guy like you really sets the bar High.

 

BTW-- Can you sing while you're playing the piano? Preferably a Gershwin tune?

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Fra--

 

You mustn't be too hard on Michael, after all a macho good- looking guy like you really sets the bar High.

 

BTW-- Can you sing while you're playing the piano? Preferably a Gershwin tune?

I can sing a little bit, but my dream scenario would be the guitar and, say, Public Image, LTD, rather than the piano and Gershwin.

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At the risk of offending Lorna, I think I like THE DARK CORNER better than SCARLET STREET. I just found Duryea's character so annoying, and I didn't like Bennett's performance that much.

 

 

SIGH. No comparison

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I experienced Michael Feinstein as host for the first time. Ironic that we were comparing him and Eddie Muller, and Feinstein gets to introduce a noir, THE DARK CORNER, which would have been more appropriately introduced by Muller. I wouldn't call him unctuous, I'd call him not overly, er, macho. 

 

I find him very STIFF.

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