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Unusual Film Couples with Great Chemistry


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47 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I recall SMILIN' THROUGH (1941) having outstanding production values. Plus it has Brian Aherne whom I love watching. Such a roguish leading man.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smilin'_Through_(1941_film)

You are right about the production values. I remember liking it very much as a kid for its fantastical Oz-like beauty, and Victorian nostalgia (I'm a sucker for any kind of reincarnation or love-across-different-times romance, truth be told☺️). Again, generally I do like the movie, and my impression may be tainted because the presenter (I think Robert Osborne) noted that despite their real-life marriage, they lacked onscreen chemistry and never made another film together.

And yes, Brian Aherne is one of my favorites, too! His Emperor Maximilian is positively inspired in Juarez, and he also had a surprising spark with Bette Davis' Carlota. She later fondly recalled raving over how poetic he looked with his leonine whiskers, and how he aught always to wear them, to which he icily replied, "And you, my dear, should always wear a black wig."😆 You can just hear him say it!

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3 minutes ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

You are right about the production values. I remember liking it very much as a kid for its fantastical Oz-like beauty, and Victorian nostalgia (I'm a sucker for any kind of reincarnation or love-across-different-times romance, truth be told☺️). Again, generally I do like the movie, and my impression may be tainted because the presenter (I think Robert Osborne) noted that despite their real-life marriage, they lacked onscreen chemistry and never made another film together.

And yes, Brian Aherne is one of my favorites, too! His Emperor Maximilian is positively inspired in Juarez, and he also had a surprising spark with Bette Davis' Carlota. She later fondly recalled raving over how poetic he looked with his leonine whiskers, and how he aught always to wear them, to which he icily replied, "And you, my dear, should always wear a black wig."😆 You can just hear him say it!

Your remark about Osborne's comments is exactly why I tend to avoid a lot of the host wraparounds. I'd rather judge a film on its own merits, not because of what someone else is telling us about the stars' personal lives and alleged relationships.

Aherne is brilliant in the comedies he made with Rosalind Russell. They costarred four different times and each one of those films is a gem.

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5 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Your remark about Osborne's comments is exactly why I tend to avoid a lot of the host wraparounds. I'd rather judge a film on its own merits, not because of what someone else is telling us about the stars' personal lives and alleged relationships.

It's funny when everyone around here is metaphorically punching Ben M. in the face for not being fit to lick Robert O.'s boots, no one ever mentions how gossipy Robert O. was! In my opinion, he always preferred to drop in a little Hollywood Babylon-type gossip over discussing the merits or making of the film in question. I don't care one way or another. Robert liked to gossip. Ben likes to tell jokes. Just different styles. I liked them both. 

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9 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

It's funny when everyone around here is metaphorically punching Ben M. in the face for not being fit to lick Robert O.'s boots, no one ever mentions how gossipy Robert O. was! In my opinion, he always preferred to drop in a little Hollywood Babylon-type gossip over discussing the merits or making of the film in question. I don't care one way or another. Robert liked to gossip. Ben likes to tell jokes. Just different styles. I liked them both. 

Yeah, to be honest, I never liked the gossipy bits. I find the films themselves to be history lessons if you will. The films speak for their times and their people, if you let them. There is no need for hosts to insert the other extraneous stuff.

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1 hour ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

I got you. The first obvious choice that comes to mind is Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond. He appeared as her "poor man's Nelson Eddy" if you will in Smiling Through, and had about as much chemistry with her as a "skid row" Nelson Eddy for that matter; this despite the fact that they were in fact married in real life and, and remained so for nearly 30 years.

None of this is perhaps surprising if one accepts the soap-operatic (yet to appearances mostly credible) allegations regarding their complicated marriage.

Gene Raymond had no on-screen chemistry with anyone.  For there to be chemistry, there has to be something beside H2O.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, rosebette said:

Gene Raymond had no on-screen chemistry with anyone.  For there to be chemistry, there has to be something beside H2O.

You don't think he had chemistry with Ann Sothern? They made a ton of rom coms at RKO.

Screen Shot 2020-02-16 at 8.51.34 AM.png

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21 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yeah, to be honest, I never liked the gossipy bits. I find the films themselves to be history lessons if you will. The films speak for their times and their people, if you let them. There is no need for hosts to insert the other extraneous stuff.

But sometimes the gossipy stuff affected the on-screen product.  If there was conflict behind the scenes, it would often manifest on-screen in interesting ways.

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21 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

But sometimes the gossipy stuff affected the on-screen product.  If there was conflict behind the scenes, it would often manifest on-screen in interesting ways.

Erm, maybe. But a lot of the gossipy stuff is over-exaggerated. I think the best way to evaluate a film is to look at whether the scenes are staged and photographed with quality. And if there is quality in the performances. Everything else is kind of meaningless in my opinion.

Again the film has to speak for itself. 

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The point about Lou Costello and Marjorie Reynolds Just reminded me that Paulette Goddard and Bob Hope had delightful chemistry in the two horror-comedies they made together, The Cat and the Canary, and The Ghost Breakers. I usually kick off the coming Halloween season with one or both of those. So much humor, and such a spirit of fun between them.

I know the OP was referring more to non-romantic pairings, but this came to mind just now.

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11 hours ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

The point about Lou Costello and Marjorie Reynolds Just reminded me that Paulette Goddard and Bob Hope had delightful chemistry in the two horror-comedies they made together, The Cat and the Canary, and The Ghost Breakers. I usually kick off the coming Halloween season with one or both of those. So much humor, and such a spirit of fun between them.

I know the OP was referring more to non-romantic pairings, but this came to mind just now.

I agree that Hope and Goddard have great chemistry in those two scare comedies, though I don't think they are a particularly "unusual" screen team. Curiously, though, they went on to make a third comedy together, Nothing But The Truth, in which all that established chemistry between them in their first two films strangely disappeared.

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9 hours ago, TomJH said:

I agree that Hope and Goddard have great chemistry in those two scare comedies, though I don't think they are a particularly "unusual" screen team. Curiously, though, they went on to make a third comedy together, Nothing But The Truth, in which all that established chemistry between them in their first two films strangely disappeared.

I guess you're right that they weren't a particularly unusual pairing. I was thinking of the funny-man/glamour-girl "beauty and the beast" kind of dynamic...but then, that's a pretty standard trope in comedy, and unlike Lou Costello, Hope was quite handsome in his early years and always played opposite beautiful leading ladies. And while Goddard was always very trim and stylish, her screen persona in those movies is not a "glamour girl" type. The Costello and Marjorie Reynolds thing made me think of it, but I guess I was drifting outside the original topic.

I've never seen Nothing But The Truth. Could be something about the send-up and genre mixing about the scare comedies lent itself well to their dynamic, or maybe the scripts were sharper, or the director(s) knew better what to do with them. Who can say? Not to get gossipy again😏☺️, but Goddard did have a way of breaking hearts, so maybe Bob was smarting in the personal department. Purely speculation, of course.

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48 minutes ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

I've never seen Nothing But The Truth. Could be something about the send-up and genre mixing about the scare comedies lent itself well to their dynamic, or maybe the scripts were sharper, or the director(s) knew better what to do with them. Who can say? Not to get gossipy again😏☺️, but Goddard did have a way of breaking hearts, so maybe Bob was smarting in the personal department. Purely speculation, of course.

Hope had the opportunity to play both comedian as well as hero in his two scare comedies with Goddard while she was most appealing as spunky girl who became a lady in distress in them. Nothing But The Truth, based on a stage play, took those kinds of roles away from them, and, in doing so, denied them the opportunity to shine together as they had before. Considering the two leads I was very disappointed by this film, especially since Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers are two of my favourite films, with Bob and Paulette one of my favourite screen pairings.

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6 hours ago, TomJH said:

Hope had the opportunity to play both comedian as well as hero in his two scare comedies with Goddard while she was most appealing as spunky girl who became a lady in distress in them. Nothing But The Truth, based on a stage play, took those kinds of roles away from them, and, in doing so, denied them the opportunity to shine together as they had before. Considering the two leads I was very disappointed by this film, especially since Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers are two of my favourite films, with Bob and Paulette one of my favourite screen pairings.

Curious to see Nothing But the Truth now, but of course can't speak for it, not having seen it. I'm glad you like The Ghost Breakers and Cat and the Canary as they are two of my favorites as well! Generally I'll watch almost anything with Paulette Goddard 'cause I just find her infinitely adorable, and Bob Hope is an American treasure for all the obvious reasons. I guess I can picture what you mean about him playing "comedian as well as hero," as I was perennially frustrated by the "Road" movies for him always having to play farcical second fiddle to Bing Crosby's romantic lead straight man, when Hope seemed so much more appealing.  Fun to see him in a similar type of movie, being the hero, getting the laughs, and getting the girl!

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4 hours ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

Curious to see Nothing But the Truth now, but of course can't speak for it, not having seen it. I'm glad you like The Ghost Breakers and Cat and the Canary as they are two of my favorites as well! Generally I'll watch almost anything with Paulette Goddard 'cause I just find her infinitely adorable, and Bob Hope is an American treasure for all the obvious reasons. I guess I can picture what you mean about him playing "comedian as well as hero," as I was perennially frustrated by the "Road" movies for him always having to play farcical second fiddle to Bing Crosby's romantic lead straight man, when Hope seemed so much more appealing.  Fun to see him in a similar type of movie, being the hero, getting the laughs, and getting the girl!

That's one of the interesting things about Cat and the Canary and Ghost Breakers. It's a slightly different Bob Hope than the one that would be firmly established as his persona by the time of the "Road" films. In these two films he is quick witted and dapper in appearance. Hope had the ability  to play a comedian with leading man qualities, at least in the early part of his career.

In Ghost Breakers, once the action has been transported to the haunted castle, it's Willie Best who provides 99% of the laughs in the film (a sweet, endearing performance by Best even if his character is a racial stereotype) while Hope turns hero (even after his often cowardly activities in the first half of the film). And, like yourself, I adore Paulette Goddard, finding her during her early years at Paramount one of the most vivacious and charming of all leading ladies. I fell in love with her when, as a boy, I first saw her in Ghost Breakers. Who wouldn't want to rescue that beautiful spunky lady?

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11 hours ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

Curious to see Nothing But the Truth now, but of course can't speak for it, not having seen it. I'm glad you like The Ghost Breakers and Cat and the Canary as they are two of my favorites as well! Generally I'll watch almost anything with Paulette Goddard 'cause I just find her infinitely adorable, and Bob Hope is an American treasure for all the obvious reasons. I guess I can picture what you mean about him playing "comedian as well as hero," as I was perennially frustrated by the "Road" movies for him always having to play farcical second fiddle to Bing Crosby's romantic lead straight man, when Hope seemed so much more appealing.  Fun to see him in a similar type of movie, being the hero, getting the laughs, and getting the girl!

The problem I had with NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH is that it seemed like a sitcom plot. The type of story we've seen countless times on TV shows where someone bets the other person they can't go a whole day without lying. In fact this idea was done on radio sitcoms, so I don't think Bob Hope's writers were being too original with this particular script.

However, I can see why they wanted to attempt it. The concept does generate a lot of comic possibilities in terms of dicey predicaments the main character might get involved in, plus it lends itself nicely to specific gags. 

What I do like about NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH is that the production values seem decent and the movie has an excellent supporting cast.

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

The problem I had with NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH is that it seemed like a sitcom plot. The type of story we've seen countless times on TV shows where someone bets the other person they can't go a whole day without lying. In fact this idea was done on radio sitcoms, so I don't think Bob Hope's writers were being too original with this particular script.

For sure. I can think of an episode of I Love Lucy with that exact premise, and a Jim Carrey movie with a very similar one. Seems to be recycled a lot.

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14 minutes ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

For sure. I can think of an episode of I Love Lucy with that exact premise, and a Jim Carrey movie with a very similar one. Seems to be recycled a lot.

Almost all the I Love Lucy episodes from the first, second  and third seasons are remakes of episodes from Ball's radio show My Favorite Husband

So this had previously been done on MFH. 

It was also done on both the radio and TV versions of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (with young Ricky being the one who supposedly can't tell the truth for a whole day).

It was a popular comedy trope. My point is that even in 1941 it was an "old recycled" plot for Bob Hope to be using in a new big budget movie.

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6 hours ago, TomJH said:

In Ghost Breakers, once the action has been transported to the haunted castle, it's Willie Best who provides 99% of the laughs in the film (a sweet, endearing performance by Best even if his character is a racial stereotype) while Hope turns hero (even after his often cowardly activities in the first half of the film). And, like yourself, I adore Paulette Goddard, finding her during her early years at Paramount one of the most vivacious and charming of all leading ladies. I fell in love with her when, as a boy, I first saw her in Ghost Breakers. Who wouldn't want to rescue that beautiful spunky lady?

I agree about Best, and have nothing but admiration for the great Black performers of yesteryear who made their talent, charisma, humor, and humanity shine through the demeaning stereotypes they were obliged to play to be working professionals in Hollywood. One reason I'm wary of "canceling" pop cultural artifacts that today's standards deem (often rightly so) racist; you're also canceling the legacy of these amazing performers who did the best they could with the only options they had at the time, and left some wonderful work despite what they had to face.

On Goddard, I too developed an impossible crush on her when I watched her as a kid, and have never really shaken it! We're in good company, as many of the great geniuses of the era lost their heads over the unique, vivacious charm you describe; George Gershwin, Diego Rivera, and of course Chaplin to name just a few. There's a magnificent dual biography of Goddard and last husband Erich Maria Remarque, tracing their oft-diverging, oft-intersecting lives in the decades before and after their last-act marriage. It's called Opposite Attraction.  She had a rollicking, adventurous, whopper of a life! It reads like a modern retelling of an 18th-century picaresque novel...Moll Flanders in tennis shorts and knee-length skirts.

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15 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Almost all the I Love Lucy episodes from the first, second  and third seasons are remakes of episodes from Ball's radio show My Favorite Husband

So this had previously been done on MFH. 

It was also done on both the radio and TV versions of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (with young Ricky being the one who supposedly can't tell the truth for a whole day).

It was a popular comedy trope. My point is that even in 1941 it was an "old recycled" plot for Bob Hope to be using in a new big budget movie.

I got you. I imagine George Burns and Gracie Allen did something similar, though I can't pinpoint a specific episode. That gag had probably been around since vaudeville, or even Euripides long before it trickled down to Nothing but the Truth. I'll have to see the movie for myself before I can judge it on its own merits.  I'm sure I can enjoy a bit of well-produced light comedy for what it's worth.

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16 minutes ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

I got you. I imagine George Burns and Gracie Allen did something similar, though I can't pinpoint a specific episode. That gag had probably been around since vaudeville, or even Euripides long before it trickled down to Nothing but the Truth. I'll have to see the movie for myself before I can judge it on its own merits.  I'm sure I can enjoy a bit of well-produced light comedy for what it's worth.

There's a limited number of comedy plots (supposedly). And if you look at the titles of the episodes for the old time radio sitcoms, you can see how often they repeated/recycled these plots. A common one is the housewife being put on a budget; and the kids being put on a schedule because they're always late. Another one is redecorating a room in the house which leads to some sort of disaster. 

Since Ozzie & Harriet ran the longest (1944 to 1966) they did a lot of "remakes." Harriet had trouble staying on a budget, then later David's wife June had trouble staying on a budget, followed by Rick's wife Kris having trouble staying on a budget. Early on Ricky was always running late, then later on it was Harriet's turn to be running late, then in the final season it was neighbor Joe Randolph (Lyle Talbot) who was always running late. Each time Ozzie put them on a schedule and made sure they were on time, darn it!

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5 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

There's a limited number of comedy plots (supposedly). And if you look at the titles of the episodes for the old time radio sitcoms, you can see how often they repeated/recycled these plots. Another common one is the housewife being put on a budget; and the kids being put on a schedule because they're always late. Another one is redecorating a room in the house which leads to some sort of disaster. 

Don't forget trading places.😉

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50 minutes ago, ClassicMovieholic said:

I agree about Best, and have nothing but admiration for the great Black performers of yesteryear who made their talent, charisma, humor, and humanity shine through the demeaning stereotypes they were obliged to play to be working professionals in Hollywood. One reason I'm wary of "canceling" pop cultural artifacts that today's standards deem (often rightly so) racist; you're also canceling the legacy of these amazing performers who did the best they could with the only options they had at the time, and left some wonderful work despite what they had to face.

On Goddard, I too developed an impossible crush on her when I watched her as a kid, and have never really shaken it! We're in good company, as many of the great geniuses of the era lost their heads over the unique, vivacious charm you describe; George Gershwin, Diego Rivera, and of course Chaplin to name just a few. There's a magnificent dual biography of Goddard and last husband Erich Maria Remarque, tracing their oft-diverging, oft-intersecting lives in the decades before and after their last-act marriage. It's called Opposite Attraction.  She had a rollicking, adventurous, whopper of a life! It reads like a modern retelling of an 18th-century picaresque novel...Moll Flanders in tennis shorts and knee-length skirts.

I tried to get a friend of mine, who was black, to watch Ghost Breakers with me. She was stony silent while it played and I could tell by the expression of her face that she was not happy. Finally she walked out on the film, not able to take the character played by Willie Best. I respected her sensitivities, obviously coming from a different place than me, though I thought she did Best's skills as a comedian a disservice by concentrating only upon what she viewed as a racially demeaning characterization. Still, as Atticus Finch said, you have to walk around in another person's shoes to understand where they're coming from.

I hadn't heard of Paulette Goddard's bio. Yes, I know she was a free spirit and had a few relationships. But she also always remained a very private person about her personal life which was undoubtedly a very interesting one. I don't think we really know all that much about her activities away from the screen (at least before the biography), though I do know she had a legendary jewelry collection and was an international jet setter after her film career ended, dying in her Swiss residence, probably not too far from where Chaplin had died. One more thing, her screen tests as Scarlett O'Hara make the mouth water.

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