Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sea Wife (1957)


I started this post nearly two years ago, typing the beginning here and writing the rest on paper as I watched the film. But I never polished it up and posted it so when Realweedgiemidget Reviews announced the Regaling about Richard Burton Blogathon I thought it would be the perfect time to get the posted! Unfortunately I couldn't find my notes until I did some serious cleaning today which is why this post is a day late. Sorry Gill!

The other day (3-8-17) I watched Sea Wife (1957), which aired on TCM the night after Robert Osborne passed away to join the countless stars he loved and admired so much. After tearfully watching a message from Ben Mankiewicz before the film started, and the TCM Remembers video, the opening credits of Sea Wife began.

The opening song, "I'll Find You" sung by David Whitfield over a background of sparkling water, reminded me very much of a 1960s live-action Disney film. You can listen to the song below.


Starring Richard Burton (TCM's Star of the Month in March 2017) and Joan Collins, the film is based on the book Sea-Wyf and Biscuit by J. M. Scott. We meet Biscuit (Burton) en route to ?? by ship. He is contemplative (as only Burton can be) and after starring off into the distance for a few moments, he makes his way to telegraph office where he places an ad in the personal columns. He continues this upon his arrival at every major newspaper. All of them are addressed simply to "Sea Wife."

 

He finally receives a reply, from a patient in a rest home. Upon his arrival at the grand house and grounds he is met, not by the person he was expecting, but a wheelchair bound older man. They begin to talk and the old man becomes excited about some past event. We fade in time to a crowded boat in Singapore. The year, 1942.


It is the first night at sea. The boat, carrying well beyond it's weight limit of men, women, and children, is torpedoed by a Japanese sub. Panic ensues with people screaming and a fire raging in the engine room. A young girl clings to a nun in a black habit (Joan Collins) who, in order for the child to stay in the lifeboat, tosses off her habit to reveal a simple white shift. There is a bit of a "Titanic" moment as there aren't enough lifeboats to go around, one of them capsizing, spilling its' load into the sea. Some inflatable rafts are launched and the nun and a wounded Biscuit, who was also a passenger, climb onto an empty raft. Together they rescue and older man from the water - the same man we met at the rest home - and watch as their ship erupts in flames. As they are paddling away from the turbulence another passenger climbs aboard, a black man who (in an unfortunate stereotype found in many films) gazes a little too long at the nun who looks very appealing despite her short wet hair and oversized white gown (it helps when your eye shadow and false eyelashes make it through the ordeal).


The four drifters, rather than reveal their true identities, come up with nicknames for one another. The older man is called Bulldog, the black man becomes No. 4 as he was the fourth passenger, and the aforementioned Biscuit who is in charge of the rations: biscuits. They take turns watching, with Bulldog and the nun having a conversation about God when he catches her praying.

It is No. 4 who gives the nun her nickname  - he was the only one to see her onboard in her habit. As the three men watch her swimming No. 4 calls her "Sea Wife," another name for a mermaid.


After only two days adrift they are already halfway through their rations.  Bulldog begins talking about drinking blood to quench their thirst, causing tempers to flare. Their argument is cut short when Sea Wife hears something in the fog. They paddle toward the sound and come upon a submarine! Unfortunately it's Japanese. They want to know if there are any other American warships at sea. When the drifters declare they know nothing, the Japs refuse to give them food or water. They won't even take them aboard as prisoners, preferring to let them die at sea. Sea Wife begs for mercy however and they are given some provisions before the submarine slips back into the dark waters.

The next night, Biscuit gets poetic (What did you expect? It's Burton!). He is interrupted when their little raft is almost upset by a passing sub, knocking their provisions into the water! In the dark they are unable to retrieve it. The following morning they paddle along dejectedly. Some pelicans appear overhead and, when one lands in the water, the men kill it, upsetting Sea Wife who knows that the sight of the pelican means land is nearby.

Later a rainstorm comes up, at first quenching their thirst but then turning into a strong gale that tossed the raft about in the crashing waves. The sun finally comes back out however with everyone alive and land in sight. They paddle eagerly toward the shore but are carried toward some rocks, ripping their raft in the process.

After bathing in the fresh water and eating some fruit, Biscuit and Bulldog set out to do a little exploring and try, unsuccessfully, to build a structure. While Sea Wife and Biscuit are trying to catch fish, he finally asks her what her real name is. She evades the question, saying, "I'm not a real person here. None of us are. I think it's better if we keep the names we have."


Tempers flare again when No. 4 finds a machete and refuses to let anyone else touch it. He also privately questions why Sea Wife hasn't revealed her true identity to the other men, especially Biscuit who clearly has feelings for her.

They begin to work on a bamboo raft, as Biscuit thinks he has spotted land some 15 miles away. Once completed, they wait for the proper time to set sail. Biscuit accuses Sea Wife of running away from life and professes his love for her. Rather than reveal that she is a nun she simply says that she is promised to someone else.


Bulldog hides No. 4's machete and, while he's looking for it, tricks the others onto the raft and pushed it out to sea, leaving No. 4 behind. He knocks Biscuit out and reveals that he has the knife on board. No. 4 tries to swim out to the raft but is attacked and killed by a shark. Bulldog isn't even sorry, saying they couldn't have a knife, a girl, and a negro all on the same raft. They can have two, but not three (this is the part where I wish Sea Wife would push his racist you-know-what overboard but, being a nun she doesn't).

Biscuit is unconscious all that night and into the next day, when Sea Wife spots a ship. As dramatic music swells in the background we are suddenly back at the rest home where Biscuit is told the shocking news that Sea Wife died aboard the ship. But, as he walks away from the rest home, he passes two nuns. After he has passed, one of them turns around. She is Sea Wife. "No one looks at the face of a nun," she remarks to her companion, and they continue on their way.


This post is part of the Regaling about Richard Burton Blogathon hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews. Check out everyone else's contributions by clicking the links below!


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Movies I Watched in November


This month was pretty good movie-wise. I caught some really interesting ones that aren't well known. I also finally got to see Journey to Italy. TCM showed it another time but it was dubbed in Italian with English subtitles and it was too hard to watch Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders not speaking in their distinctive voices. I also introduced the family to The Trouble with Harry. It was a hit :)
  1. The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1937) - Roland Young 
  2. Espionage Agent (1939) - Joel McCrea & Brenda Marshall, Jeffrey Lynn
  3. The Spy in Black (1939) - Conrad Veidt
  4. The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) - Louis Hayworth & Joan Bennett, Warren William, Alan Hale
  5. The Great McGinty (1940) - Brian Donlevy
  6. The Nurse’s Secret (1941) - Lee Patrick & Regis Tommey 
  7. The Spanish Main (1945) - Paul Henreid & Maureen O’Hard, Walter Slezak
  8. The Cockeyed Miracle (1946) - Frank Morgan, Keenyn Wynn, Cecil Kellaway, Audrey Totter
  9. Heaven Only Knows (1947) - Robert Cummings, Brian Donlevy 
  10. High Wall (1948) - Robert Taylor & Audrey Totter 
  11. Rancho Notorious (1952) - Arthur Kennedy & Marlene Dietrich, Mel Ferrer
  12. *The Trouble with Harry (1955) - Shirley MacLaine & John Forsyth, Edmund Green & Mildred Natwick, Jerry Mathers
  13. Journey to Italy (1955) - Ingrid Bergman & George Sanders
  14. *Light in the Piazza (1961) - Olivia de Havilland, Yvette Mimieux, Rossano Brazzi, George Hamilton
  15. Fail Safe (1964) - Henry Fonda, Dan O'Hurlihy, Larry Hagman
  16. Evil Under the Sun (1982) - Peter Ustinov, James Mason, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg
  17. *The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964) - Shirley MacLaine, George C. Scott, Alain Delon, Ingrid Bergman & Omar Shariff (I skipped the first third with Rex Harrison)
  18. *Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) - Steve Martin, John Candy
  19. *Casino Royale (2006) - Daniel Craig & Eva Green, Judi Dench 
Least Favorite Movie: Didn't have any.

Favorite Movie: Of course I enjoyed Caftan Woman's recommendation of Heaven Only Knows. I wasn't expecting it to make me cry though!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Movies I Watched in October

Can you guess why I revisited this one? ;)

Well, I have TCM again (signed in with my Aunt's account). I went to visit my aunt on Long Island for an entire month and, as you can see from all the * I've mostly been watching movies I've already seen with her. A couple she remembered vaguely having seen before but I was able to introduce her to some "new" films. Her favorite seemed to be Theodora Goes Wild ;)

While on Long Island I got to visit a couple movie locations. I've already posted about visiting Jones Beach, the setting for The Girl From Jones Beach (1948), but I've updated it so be sure to check it out again! I also got to go to Old Westbury Gardens. The house there was used as James Mason's mansion at the beginning of North By Northwest (1959). That post will be coming shortly (after my blogathon).

Now to the films I watched:
  1. The Old Dark House (1932) - Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, Gloria Stuart
  2. The Ghost Goes West (1936) - Robert Donat
  3. Make Way for a Lady (1936) - Anne Shirley, Herbert Marshall 
  4. *Theodora Goes Wild (1936) - Irene Dunne & Melvyn Douglas
  5. *The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936) - William Powell & Jean Arthur
  6. *Double Wedding (1937) - William Powell & Myrna Loy 
  7. *Third Finger, Left Hand (1940) - Melvyn Douglas & Myrna Loy, Lee Bowman
  8. Night Train to Munich (1940) - Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henried 
  9. *Love Crazy (1941) - William Powell & Myrna Loy, Jack Carson
  10. Tish (1942) - Marjorie Main, Susan Peters, Lee Bowman, Zasu Pitts
  11. *The More the Merrier (1943) - Jean Arthur & Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn
  12. Always Together (1948) - Cecil Kellaway, Dennis Morgan & Jack Carson (cameos)
  13. Born to Be Bad (1950) - Joan Fontaine & Robert Ryan, Zachary Scott & Joan Leslie, Mel Ferrer
  14. *The Lemon-Drop Kid (1951) - Bob Hope & Marilyn Maxwell, Jane Darwell
  15. *Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) - Louis Jourdan & Maggie McNamara, Clifton Webb & Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters & Rossano Brazzi
  16. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) - Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan
  17. *North by Northwest (1959) - Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Least Favorite Movie: Almost all the films I watched were old favorites. Out of the new-to-me movies I watched the only one I didn't "love" was Always Together, mainly because I can't stand storylines where the wife divorces the husband without letting him explain what really happened, causing herself to look foolish when she finally learns the truth. Tish had a similar non-communication problem, though I enjoyed it more.


Favorite Movie: Again, all favorites but I greatly enjoyed The Ghost Goes West with Donat in a double role as well as Night Train to Munich. Also, why wasn't Harry Belafonte in more movies??? I watched Odds Against Tomorrow for Robert Ryan but found myself focusing on Belafonte (whose Calypso record was incidentally a favorite of my brother's and I growing up in the 90s). You can find the entire film (in two parts) on YouTube.

We listened and danced to this all. the. time.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Remake of the "They Remade What?!" Blogathon has Arrived!!


Today is the day! The Remake of the "They Remade What?!" Blogathon has finally arrived!!


The Story Enthusiast kicks off the day with The Male Animal (1942) and She's Working Her Way Through College (1952).


The Midnite Drive-In takes things in a heavenly direction with Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and Heaven Can Wait (1978).


Caftan Woman sees ladies everywhere in the two star-packed versions of When Ladies Meet (1933 & 1941).


Critica Retro issues a warning for watching both versions of Magnificent Obsession (1935 & 1954) back-to-back.

 
The Flapper Dame does some fast talking about The Front Page (1931) and His Girl Friday (1940).


Pale Writer tackles The Big Sleep (1946 & 1978) in The Big Remake Part I and The Big Remake Part II.


Realweegiemidget Reviews takes a look at when a classic film-star-riddled TV show is remade with TV...A Dynastic Disaster or Delight.?

The code clearly didn't apply to poster art lol
 
Top 10 Film Lists shows us how the code effected remakes with a look at Red Dust (1932) and Mogambo (1953).


Movies Meet Their Match takes on the challenge of comparing The Shop Around the Corner (1940) with it's subsequent remakes (plural!).


Back to Golden Days takes us back to the heavens and closes the blogathon with A Guy Names Joe (1943) and Always (1989).

A huge thank you to all who participated!! I hope to bring this blogathon back in a couple years. Now to read these!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Announcing the 90 Years of Jean Simmons Blogathon!


It's no secret (at least I hope not) that Jean Simmons is one of my favorite actresses. I first saw her in Until They Sail (1957) and since then I've watched every film of hers I could get my hands on. So when Virginie of The Wonderful World of Cinema asked if I would like to co-host a blogathon in Simmon's honor, I jumped at the chance!

RULES:
  • First of all, if you don't like Jean Simmons (what's wrong with you?? ;), this blogathon is not for you. We want to honor Simmons, not criticize her.
  • Make sure you subscribe first. Don't expect us to add you to the roster after the blogathon has started.
  • The blogathon will run from January 29-31, 2019, coinciding with Simmons' birthday.
  • We will allow up to two duplicates in order to cover as many films/topics as possible. Also, we will allow up to two entries per person so that everyone has a chance to write about what they want. Please make sure it is new content.
  • Don't have a blog but want to participate? No problem! Contact me or Virginie and we will be happy to share your post on one of our blogs!
  • When you decided on your topic, leave a comment WITH A LINK TO YOUR BLOG and your topic of choice. 
  • Lastly, add one of these breathtakingly banners that Virginie made to your blog to help advertise!
Topics already chosen twice:

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Murder, She Wrote
Guys & Dolls
Elmer Gantry
Footsteps in the Fog
The Happy Ending




ROSTER:

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: She Couldn't Say No (1952) & TBA
The Wonderful World of Cinema: Personal Tribute
Wide Screen World: Star Trek: The Next Generation "The Drumhead" (1991)
Caftan Woman: Murder, She Wrote "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" (1989)
Realweegiemidget ReviewsStar Trek: The Next Generation "The Drumhead" (1991)
Hamlette's Soliloquy: The Big Country (1958)
Taking Up Room: Elmer Gantry (1960)
Movie Rob: Footsteps in the Fog (1955) & The Happy Ending (1969)
The Midnite Drive-In: The Blue Lagoon (1949)
Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Footsteps in the Fog (1955)
Cinema Cities: Guys and Dolls (1955)
Pop Culture Reverie: Dark Shadows (1991)
Pale Writer: Guys and Dolls (1955) & This Could Be the Night (1957)
Silver Screenings: Elmer Gantry (1960)
In the Good Old Days of Classic HollywoodMurder, She Wrote "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" (1989)
The Stop Button: The Happy Ending (1969)
Critica Retro: Hilda Crane (1956)
The Story Enthusiast: All the Way Home (1957)

"Oh, I think this event will be a great success!"

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Girl From Jones Beach (1948)


I’m back on Long Island visiting my aunt and after spending the morning recovering from my train ride - unfortunately I didn’t meet a Cary Grant (and thankfully not a Bruno Antony) - we went for a walk at Jones Beach. I went in July to watch the sunset and I knew there was a movie that was set there but hadn’t seen it. TCM showed it in August as part of Virginia Mayo’s day for Summer Under the Stars and I made sure to watch it. The only thing I recognized was the tower.


I took screenshots of the other Jones Beach shots for later use. So I was very happy when my aunt took me back on the first day of my visit and parked in Lot 6, right nearby the East Bathhouse! Everything looked the same, though I highly doubt the actors actually went there to film. It looks like a little rear projection was involved and probably a studio replica set. But it was neat just the same. Here are the shots in the movie and my photos. Hope you enjoy!


I was not amused by Eddie Braken's character who kept telling his girlfriend he was going to commit suicide then would wait for her to come and stop him in the nick of time.

In the letter above he says he will be near the East Bathhouse. The camera actually shows the WEST Bathhouse first.

The West Bathhouse in 1948.

The West Bathhouse today!




The camera then pans to show more of the beach. Below you see the boardwalk curving away from the front of the West Bathhouse.



The little round building is an umbrella and beach chair stand! There was nothing in it when I peeked inside but they could still use it in the summer.



East Bathhouse in background.



Finally, here is the East Bathhouse. Braken spots Virginia Mayo through the binoculars.


I kind of doubt she's actually there...


Note how the sign says Circa 1929


If you go up the stairs there's an area to sit out of the wind and sun!

Mayo enters a woman's locker. I'm not sure if this is a real building that exists at Jones Beach or not. I didn't have access to my screenshots so I wasn't on the lookout for it. And even if there is one I don't know if this is it or a set.

UPDATE: This is the front of the East Bathhouse facing the highway. The building in the film looks to be a modified set based on the actual building (unless the building itself was modified shortly after this film was made but I doubt it). My photos didn't turn out very well as the sun was coming up right over it. Some of them are a little crooked too because I couldn't see the screen on my phone lol.







The trash cans are very similar...

There's a nighttime shot of a playground that is still there. I didn't take a picture of it though.

There was a little museum display next to the gift shop (closed when I went).
 
Hope you enjoyed this little look at historic Jones Beach!