All of my friends know that the Halloween season is my favorite holiday of the year. And with this time of year one of my greatest pleasures is watching Halloween movies! I am not talking about the usual suspects such as Friday the 13th, I am talking about some great old flicks!
So if you enjoy a good meal and staying in with a movie go to my Food page http://louellamydear.com/category/food/ to make dinner and then come right back here to see what movie to pull up or rent.
Up first is a fantastic movie starring Veronica Lake and Fredric March in “I Married a Witch.”
If you are familiar with Veronica Lake you will know her as the femme fatale in the many movies she did with Alan Ladd. Her “peek-a-boo” blonde hairstyle and seductive eyes paired with her ice queen demeanor inspired many.
You can see that influence today in the movie “L.A. Confidential” and also as in a flame hair Jessica Rabbit in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
Sadly Veronica’s life was quite tragic and later on in life her health declined as well as her many marriages. She died broke and with none of her children speaking to her. Quite a sad story from the iconic Hollywood star she used to be.
Though decades after her death, Veronica Lake’s particular smoky appeal lingered as one of Hollywood’s most enduring and recognizable symbols of sexiness and class.
In this movie Veronica plays, you guessed it, a witch to Fredric March’s mortal. It is a quirky fun movie with a lot of cute gags.
Here is the synopsis – “Just as she is about to be burned at the stake for witchcraft, 17th century witch Jennifer (Veronica Lake) casts a curse on the family of her accuser, dooming all the men of future generations to marry the wrong women. Freed from her ethereal prison some 250 years later, Jennifer decides to make the most recent descendant of her accuser (Fredric March) even more miserable by using a love potion on him that makes him fall in love with her, a plan that has unexpected results.”
Veronica does a great job as a cute meddler to poor Fredric March’s harried husband to be.
Interesting enough March and Lake had problems during filming, beginning with March’s pre-production comment that Lake was “a brainless little blonde sexpot, void of any acting ability”, to which Lake retaliated by calling March a “pompous poseur”. Things did not get much better during filming, as Lake was prone to playing practical jokes on March, like hiding a 40-pound weight under her dress for a scene in which March had to carry her, or pushing her foot repeatedly into his groin during the filming of a from-the-waist-up shot
Though of course the movie at least has a happy ending friends! It’s United Artists! It was released on October 30th 1942.
Next is one of my all time favorites is “Bell Book and Candle” starring Kim Novak and the great Jimmy Stewart and wait for it… JACK LEMMON!!! Omg the best.
The film is actually considered Stewart’s last as a romantic lead. I just love Jimmy Stewart and I really love the Hitchcock film he starred in with Ms. Novak called “Vertigo.”
This film is utterly bewitching and it was shot that way as well. You become transfixed with Kim Novak’s character Gillian and her cat Pyewacket is the perfect accompaniment! Jack Lemmon’s character as Gillian’s warlock brother Nicky is out of this world. Is there anything Jack Lemmon couldn’t play well?
Also each witch, including Pyewacket the cat, is identified by a musical signature. George Duning the man that scored the movie used creative means such as recording sounds and replaying them at high speed to achieve an eerie background effect for the score.
Here is the synopsis – “In the late 1950s, Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) is a modern-day witch living in New York City’s Greenwich Village. When she encounters charming publisher Shepherd Henderson (James Stewart), she decides to make him hers by casting a love spell. Gillian takes added pleasure in doing so because Henderson is engaged to her old college rival (Janice Rule). However, Gillian finds herself actually falling for Shepherd, which poses a problem: She will lose her powers if she falls in love.”
“Bell, Book and Candle” received Academy Award nominations in two categories: Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. It also received a Golden Globes nomination for Best Motion Picture Comedy. It’s not surprising at all that it was nominated for costume design as Ms. Novak’s costumes are amazing! I mean look at these!
“Bewitched” creator Sol Saks admitted that he drew on Bell as well as the earlier witch-themed “I Married a Witch (1942).” (See above posting)
This film was release by Columbia Pictures on December 25, 1958 which is sort of weird for witch movie but it is set during Christmas.
Speaking of Columbia Pictures yours truly used to work for Sunset Gower Studios which was Columbia back in the day. Harry Cohn’s office is still there and in use as is the stairs that lead down into the starlets dressing rooms that he used to use. They placed a pair of Harry’s shoes by the stairs on remembrance of his um, ahem, dalliances but that’s a whole other blog.
Finally the last movie in “series one of Halloween Movies” is a funny, amazing, zany, high speed comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring the ever charming utterly comedic Cary Grant. This movie was originally a stage play and Frank Capra was decided upon to direct the film. Another plus is Peter Lorre is in it!!!
Here is the synopsis – “Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the knot on Halloween. When the newlyweds return to their respective family homes to deliver the news, Brewster finds a corpse hidden in a window seat. With his eccentric aunts (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair), disturbed uncle (John Alexander), and homicidal brother (Raymond Massey), he starts to realize that his family is even crazier than he thought.”
The lead role of Mortimer Brewster was originally intended for Bob Hope, but he could not be released from his contract with Paramount. Capra had also approached Jack Benny and Ronald Reagan before learning that Grant would accept the role. Thank goodness Grant took the role because I think seeing anyone else in it much less Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have worked at all!
Actresses Josephine Hull and Jean Adair portray the Brewster sisters, Abby and Martha and they played the sisters in the play as well. They are superb in these roles! These sweet old ladies are so sweet… or are they?
This movie is a truly a GEM. If you do not see this movie you are CRAZY. Even people that don’t get a kick out of old movies will be delighted watching this. The comedic timing between all the actors is flawless and Grant delivers on so many levels without ever getting campy.
You will find yourself laughing and talking out loud at the screen. True talent and genius whipped up in one crazy tornado.
Do yourself a favor and watch this movie!!!
“Arsenic and Old Lace was released in September 23, 1944 by Warner Brothers.
Have fun and I hope you enjoy these movies!!!