Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Is a Puzzlement... Little Movie Things That Keep Me Up At Night.....

As Yul Brynner says in "The King and I": 
Is a Puzzlement!

Now, I can suspend disbelief with the best of them. Audrey Hepburn falling in love with Humphrey Bogart in "Sabrina?" I got with the program. Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" sacrificing all for the obsession with Dorothy Comingore (Dorothy Comingore?)? I got over it. Dick Van Dyke as a cockney chimney sweep in "Mary Poppins"? I learned to love him. I am an obedient little movie goer and I can check my common sense at the box office for the sake of a good movie.

But there are just somethings that I can't stop thinking about, no matter how hard I try!

Things like:

Why do twins separated at birth and raised by different parents in different parts of the US in "The Parent Trap" both have British accents?
Let's Get Together Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!
This film holds a special place in my heart. I wanted to be Hayley, I wanted Maureen O'Hara for a mom and I wanted to go horseback riding into the desert night with Brian Keith (and not come back until really late). The fact that both Hayleys (one reared in Boston, the other out west) speak like Brits does not detract from my enjoyment of the movie, but I just wondered why no one in the film mentions it! Is a puzzlement.

Why does Kim Novak have her shoes on when Jimmy Stewart fishes her out of San Francisco Bay after a fake suicide attempt in "Vertigo"?
Kim's Brand: Shoes That Never Leave Your Feet!
I think I have seen this movie more times than any other. Isn't it perfect to be obsessed with a movie about obsession? But it never ceases to annoy me that Kim has her shoes on when Jimmy carries her out of the bay. How did they stay on? I even tried this myself (not in San Francisco Bay, but in a decent body of water) and my Manolos went out to sea.  Jimmy's character is a detective. He should investigate! Indeed, is a puzzlement.

Why does Barbara Stanwyck return Fred MacMurray's hat in "Double Indemnity" when he clearly took it with him when he left her house?
Is that a hat, or are you just glad to see me?
This is the sequence of things: Insurance salesman Walter (Fred MacMurray) comes to Phyllis' (Barbara Stanwyck's) home to renew her hubby's car insurance policy. Hubby is out, but Phyllis, in a towel & anklet, is in. They flirt, Phyllis gets a bright idea, Walter gets hot, tells Phyllis he has her number is then shown the door. He picks up his hat and puts it on his head as he walks out the door. Later, there is a knock at Walter's door. Phyllis has delivered a forgotten hat to Walter at this home. She doesn't seem to have a hat, yet Walter tells her to put it on the chair. What is going on here? Is a puzzlement.

Why does everyone refer to Joan Fontaine in  "Suspicion," "Rebecca" and "Jane Eyre" as mousy and unattractive? Are they kidding?
I wonder if anyone can see my copy of "In Style"
 inside of this dreary book.
Typical of Hollywood to make beauteous Joan a plain Jane. Of course, in Hollywood, even plain people are beautiful. Real plain people are not allowed.

But really, how many times does Joan have to be called plain? First, by virtually everyone in "Rebecca." Next, the characters in "Suspicion" were none too kind, with Cary Grant calling her "Monkey Face." Orson Welles in "Jane Eyre" thought her quite mousy, too (although Olivier, Grant and Welles found her charming enough to pursue). Look at her! She's gorgeous! Yes, is a puzzlement.

In "Torrid Zone," Ann Sheridan leaps from a banana train, gets thrown in jail, sweats up a storm in the tropics and never once gets her white dress dirty. How does she do that?
Ann laughs because nothing Jimmy can throw at Ann
 can get her dress dirty (or maybe she is just laughing at that mustache?)
Ann is a down on her luck nightclub singer who somehow winds up on a tropical banana plantation. It is hot, it is dusty and not too sanitary. How does she manage to keep the same white outfit clean, pressed and immaculate (not to mention the hair and make up)? Indeed - is a puzzlement.

Now, maybe I am missing some things (it's been known to happen) or maybe key scenes were cut from the films' final versions. Anyway, I've been trying to come up with some plausible answers and I think maybe I have!

Possible Solutions:

Parent Trap: Hayley's Boston Grandmother (Cathleen Nesbitt) is British. She is also quite formidable and demanding. Is it possible that she commanded the twins to speak the King's English while in Maureen's womb?
Vertigo: Being that Kim's character was really a criminal, is it possible that she glued them to her hose so that, in the even she had to beat it, or worse- walk home if Jimmy didn't "save" her, she wouldn't lose her shoes? 
Double Indemnity: Phyllis D and Walter must have been talking in code. There was no hat, but Walter invites her in anyway. He might have been dumb, but he wasn't that dumb!
Joan Fontaine: All of these people who call her plain are really friends of Olivia De Havilland and are just plain jealous. A vast conspiracy, IMHO.
Torrid Zone: Annie was a smart shopper. Once she saw an outfit she liked, she bought multiple versions. As far as hair and makeup - well, she was just a natural beauty, no?

Since I love all of these movies - despite my petty nit-picking - I shall continue to overlook these little nagging questions and just sit back and enjoy the show. After all, if I were going to question EVERYTHING, well then, why doesn't Charles Foster Kane's mother, who allegedly loved him so much, ever see him after she gets the money? Did she run away with someone? And why do the bad guys in "North by Northwest"believe Cary Grant is Kaplan when all of the newspapers are calling him Thornhill? Don't they read the papers? And why are there no Arabs or Africans in "Casablanca"? And didn't I just say I was going to STOP asking these questions?


Lawrence Morrison said...

You didn't have a problem with Marlon Brando being the Chinese house boy Sakini in Teahouse of the August Moon? Better get on the that , Chop Chop!

FlickChick said...

Oh yes!And Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," too.

brandy rawls said...

my dad and i always laugh at the "you left your hat" scene in Double Indemnity. good call! i may be stepping on some toes...but Audrey, sweet Audrey falling in love with Fred Astair in "Funny Face" (i mean no disrespect!) but, come on! and you hit the nail on the head about Joan Fontain being GORGEOUS! i love to watch her in Suspicion, just to admire that beautiful body! in fact i'm going to put that movie in right now!

brandyr rawls said...

lol, i was going to add Mickey Rooney to my list, but got too busy going on about Joan...

FlickChick said...

Brandy - yes, poor Audrey really had to get stuck with a lot of old guys (Bogart, Cooper, Astaire). Personally, if she had to get paired with an older man, I think Maurice Chevalier in "Love in the Afternoon" would at least have been more fun!

ClassicBecky said...

Wonderful idea for a fun post! I'm still know, Joan and Olivia have at least one thing in common -- Olivia has also been called plain (as Melanie in Gone With the Wind), and downright homely (in The Heiress). Well, she did look pretty bad in The Heiress -- good makeup man. Both women are gorgeous -- although to me, Joan is not sexy beautiful.

I think my favorite MUST HAVE SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEVE movie is also one of my most beloved -- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I knocked off a late-night humor article on my blog about it a while back. I mean, who lives on the income from one book for the next 50 years? Impossible. How could you pay Martha for all the housework, and afford all the upkeep on the place? Best of all, the lonely 50 years goes by in about 35 seconds with some waves rushing in.

You really got me going! This is fun!

marynarkiewicz said...

This is fun.. I saw something that was amiss in a film the other day but unfortunately, my memory isn't as good as it used to be!

I am happy you have a good memory and can discern, remember and wittily describe these moments of fuzziness in our favourite films.

Nice to see Hayley !

FlickChick said...

Becky: Ah, so right about Mrs. Muir! I always wondered what the rent was!

Mary: I knew you would appreciate Hayley!

Jan Miner said...

Yay for Hayley... and Hayley. I'm with you. If I could have morphed into either one of her, I would have been in heaven.

Freder said...

Very much fun! One of your best posts. Of course Hollywood Reality is not the same as Real Reality (and thank goodness for that), but sometimes even the great ones ask too much. . . -- DT

Clara Fercovic said...

Brilliant post, LOL. I agree with you in everything. Because my first language is Spanish I didn't notice that both Hayleys spoke with British accent. According to Maureen O'Hara's autobiography, she worked very hard in polishing her American accent, so I thought that she had nailed it :)
And yeah, the Joan Fontaine thing is hilarious if you really think about it. It's like when a female character says she's feeling like a cow, but the actress is really thin!! Well, Hollywood standards I guess.

Loved this post.

FlickChick said...

Jan - yes, we love our Hayley (especially x 2!)

Clara & DT: Nothing beats Hollywood "reality" and we wouldn't have it any other way, but I wonder if the film makers ever pondered on these things after the movie was finished. Probably not! That is left to us movie nuts!

Richard Bellush said...

Your supposition about Ann might explain the similar sartorial tidiness of Jill St. John in the 1960 The Lost World. Not even dinosaurs seem able to muss her up.

Anonymous said...

Oh no... not your manolo's!
Very funny post. I really enjoyed reading this one.

FlickChick said...

Those glamor girls sure practice good grooming at all times.

Classicfilmboy said...

Delightful post, although you're breaking all my illusions. Isn't life supposed to be perfect in the movies, where you fall into large bodies of water without anything being out of place, including your shoes? Don't all girls sound better with British accents? Don't all men appreciate the inner Audrey more when they age? I still like Isaac Mizrahi (sp?) and his observatino of Loretta Young in "Call of the Wild," when she is found in the snow and bitter cold with full pancake makeup on. Don't all women want to look their best when they freeze to death? Tee hee.

FlickChick said...

Baby, that's why we love Hollywood!

The Lady Eve said...

I share your obsession with that ultimate film about obsession, BUT hadn't noticed Kim's highheel problem I'll notice every time I watch "Vertigo" - Oh No!

I like your solutions to each of these puzzlements and have decided to accept them as fact. Much less stressful than losing sleep over Hollywood logic.

On the Audrey issue, Bogart is a huge stretch, Astaire is a stretch, too, but at least his dancing is's Gary Cooper that is impossible for me. He not only looks much too old but depressed on top of it. Of course, Cary Grant was of the same generation and he & Audrey don't bother me at all in "Charade."

To make a long story short, great post. Love it. & will turn to you whenever such puzzlements confound me...

FlickChick said...

So true about Cary - I think it was because he was ageless (a so darned handsome). I was going to mention Gary Cooper in "Love in the Afternoon," but I already picked on him a few blogs ago and didn't want to seem to be picking on him!

Anonymous said...

I like that! It is the little things that make us say hmm? I love your answers

FlickChick said...

Looks like I am going to have to do a Part 2 to this post in the future! Many more puzzlements out therein movie-land!

Rick29 said...

Very entertaining post! I love the original PARENT TRAP, but in addition to your "puzzlement", here's another one: What kind of people were those parents? They separated twins and didn't tell them about each other? Didn't let them meet until they were teenagers and then only by accident at a summer camp? That's just awful!

FlickChick said...

Rick - I must say, that crossed my mind, too. I think the real answer to all of these is - don't think so much! Thanks for the kind words!

Unknown said...

I am speaking to all who can not see the appeal of Fred Astaire. I have always been in love with him. He has a way of talking to a woman. He is at ease with his body, has a grace that is natural. It makes him sexy. He always knows which wine to order at dinner. He treats a woman like a lady while letting her know that she is desirable. He knows how to dress and how to wear well made clothes. He is always charming. Guys underestimate how much it means to a woman to be able to dance. If Fred were alive today, hair plugs etc. You'd view him differently.

Dawn said...

Wonderful post! One of the movies that I sometimes wonder about is High Noon. When, Amy's luggage has been loaded on to the train, which we see pull off without any unloading, but it reappears on the cart in the final scene. It does not stop me from enjoying the movie. But I do not know any woman that would allow her luggage to be left behind.

FlickChick said...

Dawn, I figured it out! Grace used the same Mark Cross overnight bag she used in Rear Window! Very compact for dangerous journeys!