Well, pour some Sugar on me ! “Some Like It Hot” is a perfect comedy by one of the greatest directors. Marilyn made some memorable films but she was never better than her portrayal of the guileless Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, the singer with Sweet Sue & her Society Synchopators, America’s premier all-girl band until the Shangri-Las came along. I care little for the parasitical mountain of speculation about her confused life and her unfortunate, premature death. Marilyn Monroe is a film star and a beautiful actress. It is her work on the screen by which she should be judged. Billy Wilder ensured that she gave a performance to equal her co-stars, Jack Lemmon & Tony Curtis, in this wonderful film. She was never funnier and never more alluring.
I watch this story of Jerry & Joe on the run from Spats Colombo regularly & I am never disappointed. Marilyn’s performance of “I Want To Be Loved By You” is never less than breath-taking. I am always impressed by Wilder’s lighting of this scene, keeping the spotlight on his star’s head. I would comment on the dress but then I would have to mention Marilyn’s breasts & this is not that kind of blog !
Even if Shelley Duvall had not been a regular in Robert Altman’s company of actors she would have still been the logical choice to play Olive Oyl in his film of “Popeye”. Ms Duvall hesitated when offered the part, she had been nicknamed “Olive” as a child because of her gawky clumsiness. Of course she was. Her CV at this time reads “Annie Hall”, “The Shining”, “Popeye” & “Time Bandits”… thank you Shelley Duvall.
So the maverick Altman made a live-action movie of a much-loved cartoon with a script by an ascerbic cartoonist, Jules Feiffer, songs by the idiosyncratic Harry Nilsson & then there was criticism that the result was not what was expected…no shit Sherlock. “Popeye” was never going to be a blockbusting franchise. It is a stunning imagining of an alternate world. Altman’s technique of revealing the big picture through a collection of snapshots, often over-lapping or incomplete, is not for those who like their films to have a beginning a middle & and end, preferably in that order. It works for me & Nilsson’s snatches of tunes are absolutely sympathetic to the tone of the movie.
Paul Thomas Anderson was watching. His ensemble films & the use of “He Needs Me” in “Punch Drunk Love” confirms that. I would guess that Tim Burton was watching too. If you did not like “Popeye” the first time around then give it another chance. You are probably more mature now, you will have seen so many worse films since then & “you owe me an apology”.
I liked Jim Sheridan’s film “In America” from the moment the opening credits rolled. To cast Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton, Britain’s finest young actors, in the same movie ? You had me at “Fox Searchlight Presents”. This affecting film, about an Irish family trying to overcome the tragedy of the loss of a child & to establish their family in New York from the most impoverished of beginnings is an affirmation of the durability of core human values, love, family, friendship, hope. So, no car chases & not a lot of CGI. It is a story so assuredly & unsentimentally told that I still find it difficult to believe that the director’s next film was the 50 Cent biopic “Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ “.
The two daughters, aware of the struggles of their parents but excited by the new adventure, are played by real sisters and they are a delight. 11 year old Sarah Bolger (Christy) performs that most American of songs “Desperado” at her school concert. It is a moving confirmation that life is less uncertain for the family & that the risks the parents have taken have been worth it…lovely. Sarah Bolger, my research (Ha !) shows, is now a beautiful young woman with a number of films & TV roles to her credit. I will look for her new films & she has a head start because of her great performance of this song.