the Legends of Western Cinema Week tag.

It’s that time of year again, folks, and I am so excited! Rachel, Heidi, and Olivia are once again hosting the Legends of Western Cinema Week, complete with all sorts of fun festivities as we celebrate our favorite Western films and characters. I’ve got a blog post about Hour of the Gun (1967) planned for later this week, but right now I’ll be answering the tag questions created by our hosts.

1) Favorite western focused on a lone hero?

I love Shane (1953). A quiet stranger defends the lives, freedoms, and peace of a small group of farmers, then leaves as suddenly as he arrived. Shane is the quintessential Western loner—he represents everything I like and admire about the character type.

2) Favorite western focused on a group of compadres?

The Magnificent Seven (1960) is the obvious answer, and it’s certainly my favorite. But Rio Bravo (1959) is worth a mention as well. Four very different guys band together to ensure a murderer is brought to justice. My favorite of those guys is Dude (Dean Martin), but they all have their good points.

3) Favorite western with a female main character?

True Grit (2010)! Mattie is brave, resourceful, and stubborn—one of my favorite female characters in general. The fact that she’s only fourteen makes her daring deeds all the more impressive. A close second on my favorites list would be Cat Ballou (1965). Jane Fonda’s plays Cat, another young woman who hires a grubby gunfighter to avenge her father’s death. Almost a comedy version of True Grit, if you think about it!

4) Favorite western with a POC main character?

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever watched one. Sigh. I’ve started one: The Magnificent Seven (2016), which I should really give another chance. (It bored me, so I gave up. I think I’d like it better now though.) Any other recs for POC-led Westerns?

5) Favorite western with kids in it?

Does Old Yeller (1957) count as a Western? I think so! Anyway, that’s my pick. If I can manage to type through my tears, that is… 😉

6) Favorite western set somewhere other than the United States?

You know, I thought that The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) might have been set in Mexico—but nope. It takes place in New Mexico. So I’m going with Hidalgo (2004), because sometimes The Vibes are more important than The Decade In Which the Film Is Set.

7) Favorite “western” that doesn’t fit the genre’s dictionary definition?

THE MANDALORIAN. Impeccable Old West energy. Din sounds like a young Clint Eastwood and it’s delightful. He also protects the weak, has a fast draw, and tames a blurrg. What more do you want in a cowboy???

(If you’d like a more in-depth look at TheMandalorian-as-a-Western, check out ‘The Mandalorian: Cowboys in Outer Space‘, an article written by our very own host Rachel!)

8) Favorite funny western?

Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) because I LOVE JAMES GARNER.

(I just rewatched Hour of the Gun last night, so I’m a bit hyper when it comes to JG. Apologies extended. XD)

Seriously though, Support Your Local Sheriff is an absolutely hilarious Western. Jason McCullough (James Garner) arrives in the town of Calendar, CO and is almost immediately elected sheriff of the brawling town. Jason cleans up the town, falls in love with the mayor’s daughter, and faces off against the dastardly Danby family. Such a fun film—I can’t recommend it highly enough for fans of Westerns!

9) Favorite tragic/sad western?

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) is steeped in sadness from its very first scene.

Like…the cactus rose. CAN YOU NOT, JOHN FORD?

10) Favorite western TV show?

Wanted: Dead or Alive, starring Steve McQueen, has been my favorite for several years now. Each episode is short (less than a half hour), but many of them pack a narrative punch unmatched by some longer and more well-known shows. I also love F Troop and I think I’d love Maverick if I watched more of it. Oh, and there’s Bonanza and Rawhide of course! But Wanted remains my favorite. ❤

this is one of the funniest production stills
I’ve ever seen.

What are some of your favorite Westerns? Let me know in the comments!


‘you are my lucky star’: Don & Kathy’s romance in Singin’ in the Rain.

This blog post is a contribution to The Singin’ in the Rain Blogathon hosted by The Classic Movie Muse.

2022 marks the 70th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain, a film which is quite possibly the greatest movie musical of all time. Originally, I planned to write about my personal history with the film (including my childhood crush on Gene Kelly), but then I started to think about how many of the musical numbers in the film illustrate the progression of Don and Kathy’s romance. The more I started thinking about that concept, the more fascinated I became. So that’s what I’m going to talk about today!

“All I Do Is Dream of You”

Don and Kathy’s relationship doesn’t begin in the most conventional way. Don jumps into Kathy’s car in a frantic attempt to escape his rabid fans. The conversation that follows degenerates into trading insults. When Don finally exits Kathy’s car, they’re sure they will never see each other again. But just a few minutes later, Kathy and her chorus girl colleagues show up to entertain the guests at a party held in Don’s honor.

This is the song they sing:

At this point in the story, Kathy and Don are in the ‘enemies’ stage of the enemies to lovers trope. Kathy even tries to throw a pie in Don’s face after the performance! Still, this musical number is a sign of things to come. Don does end up thinking about Kathy all. the. time. after she runs out of the party that evening.

(This wasn’t included in the movie, but originally there was a scene where Don sings a wistful reprise of “All I Do” after Kathy leaves. I would have loved to see that.)

“You Were Meant for Me”

Man. This scene and this song made my heart go crazy, back in the day. 😉

At this point in Don and Kathy’s relationship, they’re on good speaking terms. There’s even some hints of a budding attraction. But Don isn’t ready to commit. Yes, he sings a very, very romantic song to Kathy. He even sings it with great sincerity and tenderness. But he’s still holding something back—just look at the lyrics.

If I but dared

To think you cared

This is what I’d say to you

And then the rest of the song is what he would have said…if she cared. At that point, it’s pretty clear that Kathy does care about Don. A lot. But he’s not yet willing to be completely vulnerable and tell her right out how he feels, without relying on a stage or an ‘if only’ song.

“Singin’ in the Rain”

Having bonded over the terrible preview for The Dueling Cavalier, Don and Kathy are truly falling in love. Don walks home in the rain after Kathy bids him goodnight, and he bursts into the spontaneous song we all know and love. By now, Don is becoming more comfortable with admitting that he’s falling in love.

The sun’s in my heart

And I’m ready for love

However, the important thing to note is that Kathy isn’t there to hear his (near) declaration of love. Yes, Don is opening up…but only to himself. (So far.)

“Would You”

Once Cosmo’s idea of dubbing Lina Lamont’s screechy voice is implemented, Don and Kathy spend lots of time together in the recording studio, working on their lines. By this point in the film, they’re in love with each other and know it. But they’re keeping the relationship a secret until after The Dancing Cavalier is released. (It’s kept a secret because Lina isn’t supposed to know that Kathy is on set, much less dubbing her voice.)

In one scene, Kathy dubs over a particularly poignant line while Don watches.

“Our love will last ’til the stars turn cold.”

This line, as spoken by Kathy, moves Don so much that he declares they shouldn’t wait any longer to reveal their secret relationship. He’s ready to move forward with Kathy and let the chips fall where they may. But then Lina bursts in, furious and threatening to blackmail the entire studio…

“You Are My Lucky Star”

Lina’s machinations are finally uncovered in front of everyone. Kathy runs down the aisle, eager to escape the stares and murmurs of the audience. But Don steps in and, uncaring of the hundreds of people watching, begins singing a song meant for Kathy and Kathy alone. A song in which he shares with Kathy just how much she means to him.

You’ve opened heaven’s portal

Here on earth for this poor mortal

Kathy responds in kind. And the film ends with Don and Kathy kissing, fully in love and completely open about that love. It’s a wonderful character arc for both of them, particularly Don (which makes sense, as he’s the main character).

Have you watching Singin’ in the Rain? What’s your favorite song in it? Did you ever have a crush on Gene Kelly? Do let me know in the comments!


movie review: Scaramouche.

This review is a contribution to the MGM Blogathon hosted by Silver Screenings.

The French countryside seethes with talk of revolution, but Andre Moreau (Stewart Granger) has bigger problems on his mind—his father has stopped giving him money, his old flame Lenore (Eleanor Parker) is marrying someone else, and—worst of all—Andre just found out that Aline (Janet Leigh), the beautiful woman he met on the roadside and fell in love with, is his half-sister.

With so much on his mind, Andre brushes off his friend Phillipe’s talk of a coming day of reckoning for the French aristocracy. But when Phillipe is killed by Noel, the Marquis de Maynes (Mel Ferrar), Andre vows revenge. He will stop at nothing to avenge his friend—including joining a travelling theatre troupe and hiding behind the role of ridiculous clown Scaramouche.

Scaramouche is a movie I’ve seen many, many times, and it’s always lots of fun. I’m not much a fan of Andre himself—he’s a little too loose for my tastes (and I feel as though Granger is a bit too smug in the role). But the rest of the cast really shines. Eleanor Parker’s Lenore is fiery and breathtakingly gorgeous, giving as good as she gets and holding her own against Andre’s madcap ways. Parker and Granger’s scenes together are full of chemistry and sparks that almost set the screen on fire.

Janet Leigh also does good work, although Aline’s childish character fades a little into the background when contrasted with Lenore’s sparkling presence. (I do love how the two of them work together to save Andre from dueling Noel on more than one occasion. Female allyships are so great to see!)

My favorite character in Scaramouche, surprisingly enough, is Mel Ferrar’s villainous character Noel, the Marquis de Maynes. Noel and Andre are connected on a much more personal level than either of them suspect. Rewatching the film with knowledge of that connection adds even more depth to Noel’s encounters with Andre.

I’m not ordinarily a fan of Ferrar’s work, but he is, in my opinion, the best piece of casting in the whole film. Noel is proud and cruel toward those who cross him, a brilliant swordsman, and…actually a decent boyfriend? He is in love with the queen herself (Marie Antoinette!), but since that can never go anywhere, he courts Aline after the queen recommends her. The moments of thoughtfulness and care that we see from Noel in regards to Aline really do something to humanize him. (Also, Noel’s respectfulness toward women is such an interesting and marked contrast to Andre’s *cough* problematic treatment of Lenore.)

I’m not saying that Noel is not the villain of the film. He definitely is, remaining cold and calculating and heartless throughout. But I did like his relationship with Aline and how sweet he could be to her.

Anyway! I’m here to review Scaramouche, not write an essay about Noel. XD Besides the cast and characters, Scaramouche also boasts detailed, beautiful sets and costuming in vivid Technicolor. This is France just before the revolution and the costuming and set design reflect that. Bright, opulent excess on the part of the aristocrats, darker shades and tones for the common people (good for sneaking around and plotting).

In addition, Victor Young’s score is amazing: rich, thrilling, sumptuous. One of my favorite movie soundtracks. Here is the theme that plays over opening titles, so you can enjoy a sample of the music. (And really, the whole soundtrack is worth a listen.)

If you’re in the mood for an entertaining swashbuckler, I highly recommend Scaramouche. There are some The Scarlet Pimpernel vibes and some The Vikings (1958) vibes. Overall, it’s a terrific film that I’m sure I’ll enjoy for many years to come.

Have you watched Scaramouche? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!


mini movie reviews: june 2022 edition.

These days, I’ve been watching more TV shows than movies (planning one or two blog posts centered around those shows). But since I haven’t done one of these posts since February, I still have a good backlog of titles to review. Let’s get into it!

Edge of Doom (1950) – I watched this purely for Dana Andrews and Farley Granger (as one does). It’s a interesting, though odd story about an emotionally disturbed young man and a priest and how their lives connect in a rather tragic way. Noirish, if not exactly a film noir.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) – Such a good twist at the end! Billy Wilder really knows how to make ’em.

Cat Ballou (1965) – Western comedies are such an underrated film genre! Cat Ballou follows a young woman through tragedy and outlaw escapades and creating the weirdest found family on earth. The songs in this are so catchy (still getting stuck in my head, months later) and Lee Marvin was a RIOT in his Oscar-winning dual role.

Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) – I love mob stories. And Alan Ladd. So a combination of the two was all but bound to win me over. And it totally did! I thought the romance subplot would go in a cliched direction when I started the movie, but I found myself really rooting for Steve (Alan) and Marcia to mend their marriage. As to whether or not they did, well…you’ll just have to watch the movie!

Boomerang! (1947) – Another Dana Andrews movie, telling the true story of a high-profile murder trial. Solid performances from Dana and Lee J. Cobb.

My Darling Clementine (1946)My Darling Clementine has a quiet wistfulness to it that other John Ford films share (like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance). Henry Fonda was wonderfully steady as Wyatt Earp. I loved seeing Tim Holt and Ward Bond again as well. There’s so much to love about this thoughtful frontier Western!

Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) – Yep. You’ve just got to love Western comedies. I’m very familiar with Burt Kennedy’s snappy dialogue, thanks to his work on the WWII TV show Combat!, and it was a joy to have that same kind of clever humor present in a Western.

(By the way, if you’ve seen and enjoyed Support Your Local Sheriff, Rachel Kovaciny’s novel Dancing & Doughnuts has a very similar vibe.)

Double Indemnity (1944) – I knew there was a reason I didn’t trust Fred MacMurray. XD

Spider-Man (2002) – Would you all throw tomatoes at me if I told you that I don’t like Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Spider-Man? *ducks* I’ve seen all three TM Spider-Man films more than once and I’m sure I’ll watch them again…but for Harry, not Peter. The best-friends-to-enemies/downward spiral trope is one of my favorites, weirdly enough. And Raimi’s trilogy did it so well.

Green Mansions (1959) Green Mansions is one of the absolute weirdest films I’ve ever seen. When I tell you that not even Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins could save this movie, you know it’s bad.

House of Strangers (1949) – The story of an Italian family torn apart by greed and hatred and bitterness. Near the end of the film, the characters have a chance to break free of their family’s wretched generational cycle…but will they? This was a recommendation from The Classic Movie Muse, and it was great. I spent most of the movie disliking Richard Conte’s character (which was stressful, as he’s one of my favorite actors), but I loved Edward G. Robinson’s portrayal of the family patriarch. So much fun, even when he’s being mean, lol.

Little Men (1998) – A pleasant surprise! Any adaption of Little Men is viewed narrowly until I can judge its portrayal of Dan (as he’s my favorite fictional character), but I needn’t have worried. Ben Cook made an excellent Dan. And the rest of the film was a good adaption of a children’s classic. My little brothers enjoyed it immensely.

On the Beach (1959) – Nope. Nope. Nopeity nope. In a nutshell, On the Beach is about people living out their last days in Australia as a massive cloud of radiation moves ever closer to the continent. Depressing and disturbing. Excellent performances from great actors like Gregory Peck, Anthony Perkins, Ava Gardner, and Fred Astaire, but just…no.

God’s Not Dead: We the People (2021) – This is not a movie. It’s a sermon wrapped up in a few half-hearted performances. Which was disappointing, because I thought the previous movie in the series (God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness) was quite good, considering. But this fourth movie was most definitely not.

Red Eye (2005) – Another friend-recommended film, this time a recommendation from Charity. I love a good psychological thriller set on a plane, and Red Eye was certainly that. I want to see Rachel McAdams in more films now! And, of course, Cillian Murphy is always a good idea. 😉 (Even when he’s playing a horrid villain.)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) – Why did it take me so long to see this delightful movie? I loved the 60’s aesthetic, Illya, the twisty plot, and Henry Cavill’s face (not necessarily in that order).

Have you seen any of these films? Spot any favorites on this list? Do let me know in the comments!


my top five favorite Alan Ladd roles.

This is my take on the ‘Mad About Ladd’ tag, which Rachel was kind enough to tag me with. We’ve spent many a happy hour watching Alan Ladd movies together—in fact, that’s what we’ve done with all but one of the following films. He’s very special to us both. ❤

And now let’s jump into the list!

Luke Smith – Whispering Smith (1948)

Luke is pretty much the perfect guy…except for his poor taste in best friends. In Whispering Smith, Alan plays a railroad detective who gets wounded and has to recuperate at the house of his friend Murray. Murray’s wife practically throws herself at Luke, but Luke gently puts her off time and time again. He also tries to keep Murray on the straight and narrow, with ultimately tragic results. No one can portray gentle, regretful melancholy quite the way Alan was able to, and it really shows in Whispering Smith. *sniffles*

Jay Gatsby – The Great Gatsby (1949)

What was I saying about melancholy?


This adaption of The Great Gatsby is a little odd at times, and certainly deviates from the book in some major ways. Alan’s portrayal of Gatsby, however, is pitch perfect (right along with Shelley Winters’ turn as Myrtle—but I digress). Charming, wistful, magnetic, handsome, longing for what he can never have—this Gatsby is everything Gatsby ought to be. It’s worth watching the film just for Alan’s performance.

Webster Carey – Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950)

Captain Carey, U.S.A. begins during WWII where three friends carry out dangerous espionage work in war-torn Italy. Then they are discovered and Carey is the only one to make it out alive (or so he thinks). After the war, he returns to Italy, determined to find the person who betrayed him and his friends. Alan plays a man who is at turns vengeful, angry, heartbroken, despairing, and in love. Excellent work.

Choya – Branded (1950)

In Branded, Alan’s character Choya runs a long con on a wealthy family with the help of his business partner Leffingwell (a slimy Robert Keith). But Choya’s heart is turned by the family’s genuine kindness and he decides to help them instead of hurt them. While Peter Hansen ended up stealing my heart when I watched Branded (wasn’t expecting that!), Alan is great as Choya. You’ve got to love character development! Especially when it’s a person switching from being (relatively) heartless to “I’ll do anything for this family.” *chef’s kiss*

Shane – Shane (1953)

Shane was the second Alan movie I ever saw and Shane remains my favorite role of his. By far. There’s just something about the lonely, kind, strong-as-steel gunfighter that touches my heart every time—and Alan’s performance is a huge part of that.

One trademark of Alan’s acting is just how much he can communicate with his eyes, and that is never more clear than in his portrayal of Shane. So much yearning for a quiet life, knowing he can never have it. So much pride in the family that has taken him in. So much determination to make sure no harm comes to them. Those emotions go deep into my heart, giving me alllll the feels. And it’s all Alan’s fault. XD

Have you seen any of these films? Are you a fan of Alan Ladd? Do let me know in the comments!


movie review: Ocean’s 11 (1960).

Ocean’s 11 tells the story of eleven guys, headed up by one Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra), who plan an elaborate heist—one that involves stealing hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars from five Las Vegas hotels (all on the same night). The film takes a lot of time to showcase the personalities and personal lives of several of the eleven men before getting to the heist itself. (In fact, the film is nearly halfway over before you discover just what the eleven are planning to steal.)

If you go into Ocean’s 11 looking for lots of action scenes and thrilling heist montages and a plot that zips along…you won’t find it here. But if you want a movie that’s full of humor, a great twist ending, and fun performances from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford (to name a few), well, you’re in luck. Especially when it comes to those performances. Because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t really watch Ocean’s 11 for the heist elements (though those are a riot). I watch it to see the characters play off each other. I watch it for the 60’s aesthetic. And yeah, I partly watch it for Richard Conte because he’s one of my favorites. ❤ But…mostly for the fun performances. So much humor sparks and fizzes across the screen throughout Ocean’s 11.

On a side note, I find it interesting that some contemporary critics condemned Ocean’s 11 for the amorality of its characters. (Read this for more details.) Today, morally gray characters and ‘slightly better than the Big Bad’ villainous main characters are all the rage. But even back in the 1960’s (which was a decade not exactly known for its morality), some people found the unrepentant attitudes of the eleven to be troubling.

Personally, the characters’ lack of morals doesn’t bother me so much—I don’t particularly admire any of the characters or aspire to be like them. And they do get their comeuppance in the end (no spoilers on just how it happens though).

When I watch Ocean’s 11, I’m not looking for role models. I’m looking for an entertaining movie experience. And that’s exactly what I get, every time. It’s soooo fun to see the different cast members play off each other, particularly the Rat Pack. Caesar Romero also gets a small, yet important role, and he makes the absolute most of it (as usual).

Is Ocean’s 11 for everyone? No. But if you’re a fan of slow-paced (yet interesting) films, male-centric casts, and/or the 1960’s in general, you just may love it.

Have you seen Ocean’s 11? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments!


P.S. A very happy birthday to Dean Martin! I wasn’t planning to post this review on his birthday (since I didn’t even know when that was), but I’m glad it worked out that way. If you’re in the mood for more Dean content, my friend Jillian wrote two excellent blog posts about him: ‘Dean Martin, a Man of Hidden Depth‘ and ‘King of Cool.’

some ramblings about Friendly Persuasion (1956).

This blog post is a result of the ‘Pick My Movie Tag’ (more details later). Rachel tagged me to write about a movie (or movies) that I’ve changed my mind about somehow. That was actually a bit of a challenge; I don’t tend to change my mind about movies a whole lot. Either I like a movie enough to rewatch it and solidify my liking, or I don’t like it and don’t rewatch it. However, there were a few movies I didn’t like as a child, movies I’ve since come to enjoy. And Friendly Persuasion is one of them.

Why I didn’t like Friendly Persuasion at first:

Sad, but true. (source)

My siblings and I were homeschooled—my mom taught us most subjects, but she left classic lit to my grandma. One of the books Grandma had us read was Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There is a chapter in Farmer Boy where the Wilder family goes to the county fair and Almanzo watches a man play the old pea-under-the-shell game—just like that scene in Friendly Persuasion.

Well, thanks to both those scenes, my grandma made whoever was studying Farmer Boy that year watch Friendly Persuasion. Since Friendly Persuasion became a movie we were forced to watch, I decided that I didn’t/wouldn’t like it. (Kinda like how I did not enjoy Silas Marner.) In fact, I don’t think I watched the whole thing all the way through until 2015—or, at least, not willingly.

Why I changed my mind:

Um…it’s actually a good movie? XD I just had to gain a little maturity and see the whole thing all the way through (without being forced to).

(And by ‘a little maturity’, I mean just that. I recently reread my old review of Friendly Persuasion, written seven years ago, and let’s just say I was cringy back then. Still am, I’m sure, but…yeesh. And no, I’m not linking to the review; use the search bar at your own peril. Hehe.)

What I love most about the film now:


(Don’t mind me. He’s just my favorite at the moment.)

In all seriousness, Anthony Perkins does a great job portraying Josh Birdwell, a young man torn between his family’s pacifist beliefs and his need to fight for what he believes. That internal struggle is portrayed so well by Perkins. The scene where Josh actually does fight, shooting at Confederate soldiers? It’s painful to watch—but in a good way. The mix of revulsion and anguish and determination on Josh’s face and in his movements is some fantastic acting from Anthony Perkins.

There are other elements of Friendly Persuasion I love as well. In the hands of a less-skilled actress (or a poorly written script), Eliza Birdwell (Dorothy McGuire) would have come across as an annoying, puritanical stick-in-the-mud. But I love Eliza! She and her husband Jess are that marvelous rarity in fiction—the happy, middle-aged, married couple. Dorothy McGuire and Gary Cooper have such wonderful chemistry. It’s a joy to watch them play off each other. ❤

I’m not always a fan of Dimitri Tiomkin’s scores (they can be heavy-handed and even annoying with their constant, sentimental presence), but I do enjoy the work Tiomkin did on Friendly Persuasion—particularly ‘Polka at the Fair.’ (And I will also say that I prefer Anthony Perkins’ version of the theme song to Pat Boone’s.)

I also appreciate how the different perspectives in Friendly Persuasion are presented. Both viewpoints—pacifism and the necessity of fighting to defend one’s home and freedom—are given screen time, script time, and a sympathetic portrayal. The film doesn’t villainize either side to drive home a particular message. I mean, you don’t have to look any farther than the absolutely heart-wrenching conversations between Josh and his mother to see that. Josh loves his mom and Eliza loves her son. Because of that love, they both try to convince the other that their beliefs are right. It’s handled in such a moving, powerful way.

There is a good blend of comedy and tragedy, joy and sorrow in Friendly Persuasion. If you’re looking for a clean, heartwarming family movie, I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Tag rules:

  • Nominate one or more people to review the film or films of your choice. Or you can request they review something from a certain year, genre, or star. Everyone can review the same thing, or you can request each person cover something different. As long as it’s something they haven’t written about yet, you’re good.
  • Nominees are allowed to request a different pick for whatever reason no more than five times. Stuff happens. We all know it.
  • Nominees must thank the person who nominated them and provide a link their blog. (Thank you, Rachel!)
  • Nominees may nominate others to keep the tag going. Picking the person who nominated them is allowed, or they can nominate someone else. Or both.
  • All participants need to include these rules in their post, whether they’re nominees or picking nominees.
  • All participants should use the “Pick My Movie” banner or something similar in their posts.
  • Have fun!

I’m tagging Jillian over at The Classic Film Connection to write about a favorite movie from her childhood. And if anyone of want to do the same, consider yourself tagged!

Have you watched Friendly Persuasion? Did you like it? Do you share my enthusiasm for Anthony Perkins? Let me know in the comments!


triple feature: three westerns, reviewed.

Recently, I re-watched three excellent westerns: The Tin Star (1957), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), and Hour of the Gun (1967). I loved them all so much that I just had to share my enthusiasm with y’all. So here’s my review for each one!

The Tin Star (1957)

Sheriff turned bounty hunter Morgan Hickman (Henry Fonda) rides into a small town with a dead body in tow. He’s coming to collect the bounty on the dead outlaw from Sheriff Ben Owens (Anthony Perkins), a young and inexperienced lawman. Events conspire to keep Morgan in town and he reluctantly agrees to give Ben a few lessons in how to keep the peace so that Ben actually has a chance of living past thirty.

(A bit of a side note, but I’m still Quite Put Out that Alfred Hitchcock twisted Anthony Perkins’ charming, boyish onscreen persona the way he did. I absolutely love Perkins in both Friendly Persuasion and The Tin Star and I wish he’d made more films like that! But after Psycho, he was typecast. Sigh.)

This movie almost feels custom-made for me. Henry Fonda playing a bitter, lonely bounty hunter with a tragic past who undergoes a lovely character transformation and finds himself part of a family again? Anthony Perkins as a good-natured, earnest young lawman who also gets a great character arc? Old West action scenes and a score by Elmer Bernstein? Yes, please!

The Tin Star focuses on the characters and their relationships with one another, and that’s what I love most about it. Morg, Ben, Nona, Doc McCord, and Kip are all truly likable characters—you root for them and want them to be happy. At least, I do. 😉

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Three men—Howard (Walter Huston), Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), and Curtin (Tim Holt)—travel to the Sierra Madre in search of gold. They strike it rich pretty quick…but that’s just when their troubles start, thanks in large part to Dobbs’ greed and paranoia. The story spirals downward quickly, giving us a terrifying, yet fascinating look at the effects of gold lust on a man’s soul.

This was one of my dad’s favorite movies—he would often quote Humphrey Bogart’s lines or the infamous ‘badges’ bit. Because of that, I grew up on Treasure of the Sierra Madre and it remains one of my favorite films to this day.

Dobbs is one of the most disgusting, despicable characters ever seen in a movie; Humphrey Bogart did a fantastic job portraying him. XD Walter Huston is, of course, iconic as the old prospector Howard. And although Tim Holt’s Curtin tends to get lost in the shuffle when folks review Treasure, he’s my personal favorite of the trio. However, Curtin is not my favorite character in the film as a whole—that honor goes to Cody (Bruce Bennett), the cool-headed, quick-thinking, and (ultimately) tragic treasure hunter. Cody only gets a small part in the story, but his is a pivotal role nonetheless.

Max Steiner’s score for the film is engrained in my brain, the way other movie soundtracks from my childhood have become a part of me (like Miklós Rózsa’s Ben-Hur and Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s The Adventures of Robin Hood). My favorite track is easily ‘Texas Memories‘—so many feels!

In closing out this review, I’d like to say that if you’ve never seen The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and you’re thinking that it sounds like a depressing, pointless film…it does end well, with justice restored and good futures ahead for the remaining characters. A truly great movie.

Hour of the Gun (1967)

In the aftermath of the infamous shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp (James Garner) seeks vengeance on the men who killed his brother Morgan. Meanwhile, Doc Holliday (Jason Robards) is determined to keep Wyatt from going down a lawless, hate-filled path.

Oh, man. This movie. I’ve listened to the soundtrack for year, but I only got around to watching the film itself earlier this February. Why did I wait so long? That’s partly a rhetorical question, but also…I’ve never been a fan of James Garner, so a movie starring him wasn’t high on my to-watch list. Well, I’m a fan now! James Garner portrays Wyatt Earp with a quiet, steely anger that is completely at odds with any other role I’ve seen him play. Wyatt’s thirst for vengeance is relentless—you can almost feel the anger radiating from him. But Garner’s portrayal isn’t one-note. Take the scene when Morgan dies. There’s so much emotion and heartache packed into that moment, particularly in Garner’s eyes. (In fact, he does a lot of acting with his eyes throughout the film.)

But Jason Robards as Doc Holliday is also EXCELLENT, becoming (in an intriguing twist) the voice of conscience and reason as Wyatt descends deeper into revenge-seeking madness. Doc gets the best lines too, which I suspect is par for the course when it comes to Wyatt Earp movies. 😉 Everyone else is well-cast, including Robert Ryan as Ike Clanton (Ryan should only ever play villains—I never trust him), a very young Jon Voight as Curly Bill Brocious, and Monte Markham as the wonderful Sherman McMasters.

Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack is what first brought Hour of the Gun to my attention, and I love it to this day. Particularly the main theme. Sooooo, so good.

Returning to Wyatt (because he’s my favorite part of the film): recently, I watched My Darling Clementine (1946) for the first time (which is what led to my revisiting Hour of the Gun). And while I love Henry Fonda more than James Garner (and really enjoyed Fonda’s take on the character), it’s Garner’s vengeful anti-hero that will forever be my favorite Wyatt. I’ll watch Hour of the Gun over and over again just for him. That doesn’t happen often, that I’ll watch a movie multiple times just for one actor’s portrayal of a character. But James Garner’s Wyatt has joined “the happy few”, which includes the likes of Glenn Ford as Ben Wade and Alan Ladd as Shane.

Have you seen any of these movies? Which is your favorite of the three? Let me know in the comments!


my top ten favorite movie musicals.

Since writing my review of Guys & Dolls, I’ve had musicals on the brain. The last time I compiled a list of my favorite musicals was wayyy back in 2017 (and that was only old Hollywood musicals). Time for a new list, methinks! This particular list will focus on live-action movie musicals. No Jane Eyre, Hunchback of Notre Dame, or A Tale of Two Cities. No animated Disney films either. With that made clear, let’s jump in!

10. Guys & Dolls (1955)

Wasn’t actually sure if Guys & Dolls would get this spot, as the other contender was Mary Poppins (1964). Nostalgia or Sky Masterson? XD But you know, although I love the trifecta of Saving Mr. Banks, Mary Poppins, and Mary Poppins Returns, I don’t fully love MP itself. And Guys & Dolls is so fresh and fun—my current musical crush, in fact. (It will probably climb higher on this list the more I watch it.) Since I just wrote a whole blog post about my love for G&D, I’ll direct you there instead of elaborating further right now.

9. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Intrinsically tied to my childhood. The songs, the crazy story, the characters. CCBB is one of those special, personal films that I love but can’t really explain why.

8. Newsies (1992)

If they ever do a real, true movie version of the Broadway musical, it will probably be much higher on this list. But the 90’s film, the OG, is still a lot of fun. The songs are iconic to the max. And you get to see Christian Bale sing and dance. And Bill Pullman’s in it!

7. State Fair (1945)

The first time I watched State Fair, I was fresh from watching The Ox-Bow Incident and, probably, The Purple Heart. So it was such a relief to see Dana Andrews in a happy, cheerful, sweet role. ❤ (I wish the story had focused more on Pat and Margie’s story than Wayne’s doomed crush. Sigh.) The feel of this film overall is cozy and heartwarming—so heartwarming. (I dare you not to cry when Pa and Ma Frake see their humble dreams realized at the fair.)

6. The Greatest Showman (2017)

I find myself relating more and more to Hugh Jackman’s Barnum as the months and years go by. And his character development throughout the film is impeccably done. Like?? He starts out singing “it’s everything you ever want, it’s everything you ever need, and it’s here right in front of you” while imagining himself as the greatest showman, and then he sings the exact same thing at the end of the film while watching his daughters perform on-stage, as he sits beside his wife, having given up the circus life to be with his family. I LOVE IT.

5. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

I used to think this musical was misogynistic. But it’s not. Sure, Adam is awful at the start (and remains so for most of the movie). But the film doesn’t condone his behavior! Millie is the true hero(ine) of the story. She’s my heroine. Overall, the characters (especially Millie, Benjamin, Frank, and Gideon) and the fun songs are what keep me coming back for more.

4. White Christmas (1954)

Best to watch at Christmas, but you can really enjoy White Christmas any old time. As with most of the musicals on this list (if not all, besides Guys & Dolls), I’ve seen this one so many times that I have it about memorized. I still love it though. Your favorite couple (Phil and Judy or Bob and Betty) says a lot about you, I bet. 😉

3. The Happiest Millionaire (1967)

Apparently, when I watched this movie as a toddler, I walked around the house afterwards imitating the alligator roars. I’ve been a fan ever since, lol. This is a movie that I really associate with my grandfather, so it’s special in that way. Sure, maybe it’s a bit too long. But the songs and the story and the characters are all great. Again—NOSTALGIA.

2. The Sound of Music (1964)

I think, having grown up with it, I tended to take The Sound of Music for granted. But it really is one amazing movie musical. Recently, I rewatched it and was blown away by how truly Great a movie it is. One of those impeccable films that never gets old. Love the Captain and Maria’s relationship after they’re married. They’re so comfortable and natural together—it’s very sweet!

1. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Singin’ in the Rain has been on my list of top ten favorite movies for years. It’s possibly one of my top five favorite movies. Catchy songs, memorable characters, a fast-paced plot, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at ‘the pictures’, and one of the best villain comeuppance scenes in movie history. Utter perfection. (Also featuring Gene Kelly as possibly my first actor crush. Those were the days…)

Have you seen any of these musicals? What are some of your favorite movie musicals?


movie review: Guys & Dolls (1955)

For the longest time, all I knew about Guys & Dolls was that my mom didn’t want my siblings and I to watch it. (Understandable—I wouldn’t show it to my younger siblings today!) That kept it off my radar for quite a while. Recently, however, I learned that one of my friends considers Guys & Dolls to be, most likely, her favorite musical. How could I not give it a try? (Though I will confess however, that, even with that recommendation, I doubted I would like it much. Oh me of little faith. 😉)

Anyway, I watched Guys & Dolls. And rewatched it. And now I love it. So…review time!


Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) is (in)famous for running the “oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York,” despite protests from his fiancée Adelaide (Vivian Blaine) who just wants Nathan to settle down and live a normal life. There are a bunch of guys in town, ready and eager to play, but Nathan has a problem—he doesn’t have the $1,000 needed to rent a place at which to host the game. You see, the crap game is illegal and new locations are hard to find, especially with a certain Police Lieutenant Brannigan (Robert Keith) breathing down Nathan’s neck.

To raise the money, Nathan bets high-roller Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) that Sky cannot persuade Sister Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons), a worker at the Save-A-Soul mission, to accompany him to Havana within the next twenty-four hours. Sky accepts the bet and what follows is a delightful musical involving two different romances (and no love triangles!), a number of great songs, and lots of fun in general.

As a writer, I find Guys & Dolls to be an excellent example of the writing advice that says every major character should have a goal, some motivation that carries them not just through the story as a whole, but through each individual scene as well. Not only that, but it’s best if there’s an internal goal and an external one—and better still if those two goals conflict. Guys & Dolls does all of that beautifully. For instance…

  • Nathan wants to run his crap game and make lots of money. BUT he also loves Adelaide and doesn’t want to lose her.
  • Adelaide wants Nathan to quit the game and live a normal life and marry her (they’ve been engaged for, um, fourteen years). BUT if she can’t make him quit—is she content to accept him anyway?
  • Sky wants to win the bet Nathan made with him. BUT he also finds himself falling in love with Sarah for real and doesn’t want to hurt her reputation.
  • Sarah wants sinners to come to the mission so that headquarters won’t shut them down. BUT the only way to make that happen is to go to Havana with Sky (long story).
  • Brannigan wants to shut down Nathan’s crap game. BUT (or AND) deep down he also wants Nathan and Adelaide to be happy. (I promise I’m not making this up! Didn’t you see how he jumped on the ‘Nathan’s going to elope with Adelaide tomorrow’ bandwagon? I mean, he even suggested it! And he *spoilers* walked Adelaide down the aisle/street.)

See? It’s all sooooo good and rich.


So, yes, they’re all great: Nathan, Adelaide, Sarah, Brannigan, Nicely-Nicely, Big Jule, Arvide Abernathy, and so on. Honestly. I have such fun hanging out with them.

But Sky Masterson, you guys. SKY MASTERSON.

Guys & Dolls is the first Marlon Brando movie I’ve ever seen. All I really knew about him before was that he starred in The Godfather (which I haven’t watched). But, well, I’m a tiny bit obsessed now—not just with Brando, but with Sky too. Which honestly surprises me! I think if I’d gone into the film expecting to like Sky, I wouldn’t have? Idk? But because I had zero expectations, I think I fell in love with him the way Sarah does in the film. I found Sky insincerely charming and problematic at the beginning of the film (though also funny, hehe). But as the story progresses, Sky begins to change—and so did how I felt about him.

The big swoon-worthy moment (for me) comes around the middle of the film when a half-drunk Sarah, thinking it’s a good idea for her and Sky to just stay in Havana, protests “I know what I’m doing!” And Sky says, dead serious, “Do you, kid? I don’t.” Because he’s never been in love before! And it’s all new and strange! And he’s changing almost without knowing it! This is the guy who was saying just a day ago that women were—to sum it up in one word—interchangeable. But now he’s falling in love and realizing that everything he said to Nathan on the subject wasn’t actually true. Such good character development. I melt.

Later on, Sky tells Nathan that Sarah didn’t actually go to Havana with him—lying for Sarah’s sake even though it costs him $1,000. And I melt even more. Because…MAN. I just love him. ❤

Well, they’re adorable. (source)
Also, this.

(Did I write this review mainly so I could fangirl about Sky? Maybe a little bit…)


What’s a musical without a bunch of unforgettable songs? Definitely not Guys & Dolls! XD

For the past several days, my brain has been all “I’ve got the horse right here/His name is Paul Revere” or “Call it sad, call it funny/But it’s better than even money/That the guy’s only doing it for some doll” or “Follow the fold and stray no more/Stray no more, stray no more.” Or lines from almost any of the other songs. Gets borderline annoying, not going to lie. But also…they’re great songs!

It’s hard to pick favorites. ‘The Oldest Established’, ‘I’ll Know’, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘A Woman in Love’, ‘Luck, Be a Lady’, ‘Sue Me’, ‘Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat’—so many good ones. (‘More I Cannot Wish You‘ and ‘I’ve Never Been in Love Before‘ are also beautiful—the second one especially—but they weren’t included in the film. Sigh.)

Side-note: I know there was a LOT of rivalry between Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando during the making of this film, mainly because Sinatra wanted the part of Sky Masterson. But even though Sinatra has the better singing voice…I’m glad the casting worked out the way it did. I don’t care that Marlon Brando wasn’t a professional singer—he still threw all his acting (and singing) ability into the role of Sky.

And it worked out so well.

Have you seen Guys & Dolls? Who’s your favorite character? What’s your favorite song? Let me know in the comments!


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