some thoughts on ‘texas’ (1941)

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This post is part of the Texas Blogathon hosted by The Midnite Drive-In.

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Confederate soldiers Dan (William Holden) and Tod (Glenn Ford) look to Texas for opportunities when the war ends. Upon witnessing a stagecoach robbery, the close friends ambush the outlaws and confiscate the stolen funds. Tod wishes to return the money, but Dan wants to keep it. After a sheriff gives chase, each man runs off on his own. They are reunited after some time, but with Tod now an honest ranch hand and Dan an outlaw cattle rustler, the two do not know if their friendship can survive.

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I was originally going to write a bona fide review of ‘Texas’, but I have a lot of scattered thoughts and comments to make concerning it, so I thought I might as well do a list thingy instead.  (There will be spoilers.)  (And if you want a more conventional review of this movie, I recommend this post.)

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~I’m highly amused by the cheery music that plays as ‘…The paths to the market were bloody trails of Indian depredations, outlaw, rustlers…’ scrolls across the screen.

~William Holden and Glenn Ford are, like, baby-year-olds in this film.  And very adorable.  I’m sort of used to Young William Holden because I’ve seen ‘Arizona’ (was ‘Texas’ supposed to be a sort of companion piece to ‘Arizona’?).  Young Glenn Ford is very attractive and he and William Holden both have cute dimples.  Plus, their acting is great.

~William Holden tends to play jerky guys, at least in most of the films I’ve seen him in.  I don’t really care for Dan (Holden’s character).  I mean, he joins up with cattle rustlers and doesn’t seem much bothered by it.  And he steals Tod’s girl (though he might not have known that extent of Tod’s feelings at first).

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~The fight near the beginning is HILARIOUS.  My siblings and I laughed so hard during it when we first watched the movie.

~Edgar Buchanan makes for a chilling bad guy.  I’ve only ever seen him playing kindly/harmless old codgers, but he was something else again as Doc.  Lots of nastiness, and it’s surprising twist considering his usual screen roles.

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~I love how Tod stands up and says his piece after Windy Miller makes his offer of two dollars a head of cattle.  If I were Mike, I’d have fallen for him right then and there (Tod, not Miller).

~*snickers at how Dan wants to keep the money and Tod tries to talk him out of it because Glenn Ford’s character in ‘The Sacketts’ does the exact opposite and why am I snickering about this when the situation is actually kinda heartbreaking in ‘The Sacketts’?*

~Thanks to certain comments on Hamlette’s review of ‘Texas’ (see link above) I will forever get Tod and Dan’s names mixed up in my head.

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~Man.  The way that sheriff and the posse are so quick to lynch Tod puts ‘The Ox-Bow Incident’ to shame.

~Also, the ending of ‘Texas’ is a bit of a downer and not something I expected from a 40’s ‘B’ western.  But I guess it all comes down to the fact that Dan’s life was in a mess and there wasn’t enough time to bring resolution, reconciliation, and redemption to him, so they killed him off. *sigh*

~Overall, though, a fun, entertaining, and enjoyable western film, one that I’ll be sure to watch and re-watch over the years.

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Have you ever seen this film?  What did you think of it?

Eva

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my top ten favorite villains

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Some villains.

Villains.  You’ve gotta hate them.  They’re sneaky, evil, horrid, clever, seemingly invincible (at times), hateful, manipulative, and just downright bad.  Still, there’s a certain fascination that hangs around many villains.  We might be rooting for the hero (at least, I hope we are!) but sometimes the baddies can be so smart, funny, and (in some cases) attractive, that we kind of hope that they get away in the end – or that they turn good (a villain/antagonist turned good guy is amazing, IMO).

Anyway, this is my list of my top ten favorite villains.  It’s not comprehensive, it’s a strictly personal list, but I had fun with it.  There’s five male and five female bad guys/girls because I like making things even.

// Ben Wade – ‘3:10 to Yuma’ //

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I wrote an entire post rhapsodizing about why this guy is my favorite villain of all time and having recently re-watched + loved ‘3:10’, I see no reason to change my opinion.  Just check out my post; it’ll be much more eloquent than anything I could scribble down here.

// Mother Gothel – ‘Tangled’ //

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Manipulative.  That’s the best word to describe Mother Gothel.  Over the past seven years since ‘Tangled’ was released in theaters (has it really been that long?) people have debated over whether or not Gothel actually loved Rapunzel somewhat or was simply using her all along.  I think the answer’s pretty obvious.  As soon as Rapunzel told Mother Gothel that she would never let her hair be exploited again, any pretense of affection on Mother Gothel’s part instantly vanished.  She’s a horrible woman…but a great villainess.

// Jim Moriarty – ‘Sherlock’ //

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Every girl who watches ‘Sherlock’ ends up falling for Moriarty sooner or later.  It’s a basic fact of life.  I think as soon as he showed up in ‘The Great Game’ (as himself, that is, not “Jim from work”) I became fascinated with him in that “you’re a despicable person, but still insanely clever/attractive” way.  It’s really weird. (I was so disappointed when BBC did the bait-and-switch thing in the very last episode with the flashback.  Even after Sherlock concludes Moriarty’s dead, you always wonder.)  His dedication to defeating Sherlock is a bit crazy – I mean, he commits suicide to gain the upper hand.  That is a serious super villain move.

// Solovet – Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins //

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If/when ‘they’ make a movie of the Underland Chronicles, Cate Blanchett NEEDS to play Solovet.

Worst mom of the century award goes to Solovet.  Easily.  She locks Hamnet away without light, without human contact, for a month and then expects him to still be her loyal little son?  Who does that? (I’m writing some fanfiction right now surrounding those events, so I’m more triggered about it than usual.)  I will say, however, that Solovet is the least villainous person on this list.  She’s more of an antagonist than a villain and I still do feel a little sad when she gets sacrificed for TGG (the greater good) near the end of the series.

// Zemo – ‘Captain America: Civil War’ //

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Um…I mostly included Zemo because he has a Tragic Backstory and he’s *cough* rather handsome and I’m rather tired of monstrous comic book villains.  Zemo’s normal compared to a bunch of Marvel and DC villains.  But I don’t particularly think he’s an epic villain, per se. (Though I will defend the brilliance of his plan.  Complexity of that sort amazes me.)

// Queen Levana – Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer //

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The Lunar gift is both fascinating and terrifying.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if people actually had that kind of power?  Levana is a master at manipulating bioelectricity, which makes her frightening and unpredictable.  She, too, has the typical Tragic Backstory but she’s also just plain evil and a little unhinged as well (that always helps).  Even when I read Fairest, which is Levana’s story, it didn’t really make me sympathize with her (though it was written from her POV) because she is so weird/creepy/heartless.

// Scarecrow – the Dark Knight trilogy //

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Speaking of weird and creepy…there’s plenty of weirdness and creepiness going on in Gotham and a lot of that is connected with Arkham Asylum and Jonathon Crane, AKA Scarecrow.  To be honest, my interest in Scarecrow may have more to do with the fact that I really, really like Cillian Murphy than any of Crane’s sterling qualities (I’M KIDDING), but there’s also something of a villain crush going on there as well.  One thing I find interesting in ‘Batman Begins’ is the power struggle.  Falcone thinks he’s so powerful and everything, but then he gets taken down by Crane who acts so superior and then R’as al Ghul sweeps into Gotham and takes over everything.  That being said, I put Scarecrow on the list (as opposed to R’as) because I find Scarecrow more interesting.

// Lina – ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ //

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One word that sums up Lina?  Nasty.  Or, rather, nastiness personified.  She’s deceived herself into believing that she and Don will eventually be together as a couple, so she gets Kathy fired and throws temper tantrums whenever she’s contradicted, and generally makes an idiot of herself.  She’s definitely one of those ‘love to hate’ villains and her downfall is exquisitely perfect.

// Ratigan – ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ //

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Look at that – another Sherlockian baddie!  Ratigan was my number one villain for the longest time and he’s still really high up on my list (just not on this list, ’cause I didn’t really rank anyone here except for my real number one).  One reason for Ratigan’s awesomeness is the fact that he gets TWO villain songs (I know I’ve said that before, but I still find it really, really cool).  He’s the perfect opponent and foil for Basil (in a similar way to how Moriarty and Sherlock are so evenly matched) and Vincent Price’s voice acting is a real treat.

// The Wicked Stepmother – ‘Cinderella’ //

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What is it with stepmothers being so evil?  Lady Tremaine is pretty much the epitome of evil stepmothers and Cate Blanchett brought her to life with biting accuracy. *shivers*

Do you spot any evil favorites on this list?  Who are some of your favorite villains?

Eva

“I am Moanaaaa!”

AKA some scattered thoughts on a few of the character’s from Disney’s ‘Moana’.  Many thanks to my good friend, Jessica Prescott, for inspiring me to write this and giving me some of the thoughts that I incorporated into this post.

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To say ‘Moana’ is visually breathtaking is a gross understatement.  It may be the most beautiful animated film I’ve ever seen, not to mention films in general.  But no matter how beautiful the movie is, how catchy/amazing the songs are, and how interesting the story is, it’s the characters that keep tugging at my heart.  There are so many amazing character moments throughout Moana (with one of my personal favorites being when Moana’s mom gives her silent approval of Moana’s journey by helping her pack <3).  And I want to discuss some of those characters right now.

First of all, there’s Moana herself.  Normally I roll my eyes at a lot of Disney’s ‘girl power’ stuff because so often the female characters are kinda annoying when they go all ‘I can do this better than any guy’.  BUT.  That moment when Moana realizes that she can take the heart back instead of relying on Maui to do so?  *CHILLS*

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Then there’s the fact that even though Moana yearns for closer contact with the ocean, she doesn’t angst and whine and sulk about it.  She recognizes that even though her dreams might differ from the status quo, life on her island is good and even wonderful and that she’s surrounded by people who genuinely love her.  She doesn’t have much to complain about and she doesn’t complain.  She is both able and willing to take over the role of the village chief when it’s time.

So here I’ll stay.
My home, my people beside me.
And when I think of tomorrow
There we are.

I’ll lead the way.
I’ll have my people to guide me.
We’ll build our future together.

You can find happiness right where you are.

-‘Where You Are’

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Rapunzel has always been my favorite Disney princess, followed by Belle, but Moana might unseat both of them.  She’s a great leader and she only leaves her island, her people, and her family because she knows that unless she does, everyone will eventually die.  The stakes are incredibly high and I don’t think she would have left the island for anything less than an emergency.  In all likelihood, had the heart not been stolen from Te Fiti, Moana would have never left her island and would have been quite happy to stay.  But when a crisis arises, she goes out to solve it as best she knows how.  It’s just a coincidence that her life-long dream gets fulfilled at the same time. *grins at the perfectness of it all*

Then there’s Maui.  I was thinking about him yesterday, and I realized that his backstory is a LOT like a Typical Villain Backstory and he could have easily spiraled downward in that direction.  Being abandoned – literally thrown away like garbage – by his parents would have given him ample justification to turn against humankind and wreak havoc among them (especially after being turned into a demigod + being given all the power that comes with his hook).  Instead, he rose above his past (something I admire so, so much) and turned out to be really helpful to people and generally awesome. ❤

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The final character I want to talk about is Moana’s dad, Chief Tui.  He is SO GREAT.  Unlike the typical stern, tyrannical animated movie dad (well, he is stern, but not in a bad way) he’s a well-developed character and person in his own right (complete with a backstory, for once).  He was probably just as adventurous as Moana when he was her age, so I’m sure he understands where she’s coming from.  But at the same time, he knows the dangers of the ocean better than his daughter and it has to be hard for him to rebound from his best friend dying.  Tui is just trying to protect his family and his village in the best way he can.  And I know it’s a cliched motivation for movie dads, but that’s because it’s true.  That’s what dads do.

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So, that’s about all I have to say about the characters of ‘Moana’ for right now.  Do you have any insights to add concerning the three characters I analyzed?  Who is your favorite character in ‘Moana’?

Eva

mini movie reviews {#4}

And one for books coming (hopefully) tomorrow!

04e1b49d131a16e9702c7e50b2c79c88--vintage-retro-vintage-humor.jpgNewsies (1992) – My obsession of 2014’s summer months (this and the Broadway musical).  The songs are still, and always will be, amazing.  Plus, baby Christian Bale.

The Patriot (2000) – Gory and violent, but beautiful as well, and I was hardly ever bored for its almost-three-hour run which is pretty incredible.  I still don’t like Mel Gibson, though.

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This guy, however…

Rogue One (2016) – My heart is smashed.

An American Tail (1986) – While ‘Fievel Goes West’ was watched wayyyy more than ‘An American Tail’ during my childhood, this movie still brought back plenty of good memories.

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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) – Ever since I watched and loved A&E’s Horatio Hornblower series I’ve been a little obsessed with that period of British history, so M&C was a natural extension of that.  An excellent film.

Texas (1941) – Super young Glenn Ford and William Holden?  YES.  A thoroughly entertaining ‘B’ western.

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A Royal Night Out (2015) – Gorgeous clothes, lots of Glenn Miller, and not a whole lot going on besides that.  Still, it was amusing.

The Four Feathers (2002) – This movie depresses me to death, but I still love it.  Heath Ledger and Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson all turn in these absolutely gut-wrenching performances.  It’s one of those stories that settled really deeply into my heart and soul forever.

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The Secret of Convict Lake (1951) – One of the better westerns I’ve seen.  Several good female characters, which is a bit unusual for a western.  Glenn Ford and Gene Tierney both gave great performances.

The Inheritance (1997) – This is another #childhood movie and it’s super obscure (but awesome) so if any of you have ever watched it, I’d love to know.  It’s a bit similar to ‘Little Women’ (1994), not least of all because both movies are based on books written by Louisa May Alcott, so I might do a comparison post sometime.

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The Searchers (1956) – Deeply sobering.  A truly great western.

Moana (2016) – I’ve seen this three times now, I think, and I like it a lot better now than I did when I first watched it.  The songs are good and/or catchy for the most part, and Maui is a LOT of fun.  Actually, the whole movie is.

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Have you watched any of these movies?  What films have you seen lately?

Eva

five movies I’d take to a desert island

Even harder to decide than with the books, mainly because there’s lots and lots of movies I love but very few that would hold up under dozens of re-watches.  Still, I’m pretty happy with this list. (And, in the end, there were several that I wanted to include but didn’t.  I think it’s a pretty subjective thing, depending on my mood.)

// The Magnificent Seven {1960} //

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Obviously.  Favorite movie ever and all that.  As for the re-watchability, well…a few days ago my dad wanted to watch this with me and I was a little worried that I would be bored because I’d already seen it so many times and maybe, just maybe I was sick of it.  Turns out, as soon as the opening credits started to roll and that glorious theme started playing, I was sucked in and didn’t look back.  The music, story, and characters are all AWESOME.

// Little Women {1994} //

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Watching this movie, for me, is like eating a warm, delicious, comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup.  It’s one of those films that I actually think is better than the book *gasps from everyone* and I love it to pieces.  The music pulls everything together (like the Anne movies) and Christian Bale is adorable as Laurie and Winona Ryder is perfection as Jo.  ‘Little Women’ makes me cry and laugh and, overall, gives everything about life a warm glow.  At least for a little while.

// Tangled {2010} //

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First Disney princess movie I ever saw.  One of the first movies that made me cry.  Most likely the first animated movie that made me cry.  If I can’t get to sleep, I replay ‘Tangled’ in my head.  Flynn/Rapunzel will forever be my favorite Disney couple.  Mother Gothel is definitely on the list of ‘top ten villains’ that I’m currently mulling over in my head (blog post worthy? absolutely).  And it definitely deserves more recognition than ‘Frozen’, as it’s easily the better movie.

// Singin’ in the Rain {1952} //

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Best musical everrrrr.  End of story.  (Okay, not exactly the end of the story.  It used to be my favorite movie of all time and it’s still right up there and I could watch it every day, not even kidding.)

// Ramona and Beezus {2010} //

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I wasn’t too happy with my decisions for the fifth movie on this list, but then I watched ‘Ramona and Beezus’ the other night and knew I’d found the perfect fifth pick.  Honestly, it’s a movie for middle-graders (if not a younger age group) that’s a bit cheesy, but mostly full of heart and SO. MUCH. happiness that it’s become my go-to ‘happy place’ movie.  I want to hug it.  There’s lots of fun adventures and a sweet romance and a wedding-ending (those are the best).

What movies would you take a desert island?  Would y’all like a ‘TV show episode’ version of this post?

Eva

movie review: the proud rebel

This post is part of The Alan Ladd Blogathon taking place at Hamlette’s Soliloquy.  You can read the rest of the blogathon posts here.

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Confederate veteran John Chandler (Alan Ladd) returns from defeat in war to find his home razed, his wife dead and his young son, David (David Ladd), traumatized and rendered mute. Desperate to cure the boy, Chandler takes David to a small town in Illinois where he hopes to find a doctor. But, soon after the pair arrives, Chandler finds himself framed for assault — and forced to choose between serving hard time and working for struggling local farmer Linnett Moore (Olivia de Havilland).

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I remember watching ‘The Proud Rebel’ at my grandparents’ house and not taking much away from it except a couple of hazily remembered scenes (mainly one in the courtroom where Linnett talks to the judge and also some bits regarding the dog).  I mostly forgot about it except to sometimes wonder “What was that movie with the dog and the deaf boy?” (I mistakenly thought that David was deaf.)  Then I got rather interested in Alan Ladd and found an old DVD of ‘The Proud Rebel’ in our collection, so I popped it in to watch and when I hit the courtroom scene I was like “Ohhhhhh…I remember you!”.  Very cool feeling.

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Alan Ladd plays John Chandler and his real-life son, David Ladd, plays his in-the-movie son, David Chandler.  Alan Ladd puts in a fine performance as John Chandler, a man looking to move forward from his past as a Confederate soldier as well as trying to find help for his mute son.  I really love the relationship between John and David – the boy is mute, so he has to depend on his father to help him communicate with people.  Their interaction is made even more heartwarming by the fact that they’re father and son IRL.  John and David’s father-son relationship is a huge part of ‘The Proud Rebel’, since John wanting to find a workable treatment for David is what drives pretty much all the action.

Linnett, portrayed by Olivia de Havilland, is one of the best female characters I’ve ever seen in a western.  She’s run her ranch (or is it a farm?) singlehandedly ever since her father (and brother, I think) died.  She’s kind and compassionate, particularly towards David (he steals her heart much sooner than his father does), but she’s also strong and capable and gives John plenty of good advice throughout the film.  Linnett’s farm is threatened by the villain of the piece, Harry Burleigh, and he’s a pretty formidable villain, played quite well by Dean Jagger (who I know best as the great General Waverley in ‘White Christmas’ – still not used to him in a villainous role).

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I don’t care for dogs, but I still enjoyed every moment of ‘The Proud Rebel’, even the last twenty minutes or so which are centered almost entirely around David’s dog.  And no spoilers, but the ending is predictable without being any the less emotional for all that.

Overall, ‘The Proud Rebel’ is a good, solid film.  I’ve watched it twice, enjoyed it twice, and I wouldn’t be the least opposed to seeing it a third time.  The cinematography, story, and dialogue all flow together well and the plot is interesting.  Recommended to fans of westerns, dogs, Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland…just about anyone.

(My six-year-old brother liked it, so it’s good for children as well.)

(And you can watch it for free on Youtube.  Just so you know.)

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Eva

notorious VS. casablanca

This blog post is part of The 3rd Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon.  Check out the other entries here.

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Ingrid Bergman is one of my favorite actresses – her beauty, accent, talent, and height all combine to make her one of the most striking women on Hollywood’s silver screen.  I’ve only seen her in four or five films, but she’s impressed me in every single one.  Today, I wanted to compare two of her most famous films – Notorious and Casablanca.  Both movies were made around the same time, both star Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains, and…um, that’s good enough for me to write a comparison post (seriously, though, I’ve considered comparing The Lorax and The Giver just because of their similar themes – plus, Taylor Swift’s in both).

Anyway.  Enough rambling.

// The Story //

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I’m horrible at plot summaries.

Notorious: A German-American woman is recruited by the US government to spy on…other spies?  Not entirely sure what Alex is, actually.  Anyway, the woman, Alicia (Bergman), falls in love with her handler, Devlin (Cary Grant), but things become chaotic when Alicia marries one of the enemy.

Casablanca: Talk about a ‘tale as old as time’.  The story of Casablanca is known around the world.  Rick owns a cafe in Casablanca.  Everyone comes to it over the course of the story and the romances, intrigues, political plot points, etc., etc. make for an addictive cinematic experience.

// The Heroine //

HEROINE

Because they’re both played by Ingrid Bergman.

Notorious: Alicia Huberman (later Alicia Sebastian) is a wonderful heroine.  Though her father was a member of the Nazi party, she herself is a loyal American on the side of truth, liberty, and justice.  However, she ends up having to lie constantly to her husband, her liberty is curtailed when Alex finds out who she really is, and there’s no justice in the way Devlin treats her throughout the movie (until the very end).  Yet she rises above all this to emerge as one of the most memorable Hitchcock leading ladies of all his films.

Casablanca: Most people view Casablanca as a ‘Humphrey Bogart picture’ and I have to say that that’s true.  He’s the main character and the moral centre of the entire thing, but without Ilsa, there would be no story.  From the moment she walks into Rick’s cafe until the moment she leaves on the plane to Lisbon, she is constantly in Rick’s – and our – mind.  She is the catalyst of the entire story (well, the letters of transit play a big role, but they’re more a MacGuffin than anything) and a great character in her own right.

// The Hero //

HERO

Because they’re both awesome.

Notorious: As I’ve mentioned before, Devlin is one of the only Cary Grant characters I like.  And he’s a jerk for most of the film!  Like, a serious jerk.  I can never quite figure out if he loves Alicia at the beginning – at least, as much as she loves him – but by the time she marries Alex, you know he does.  And he’s so very heroic in rescuing Alicia at the end. ❤

Casablanca: Rick is one of the most famous heroes (or is he an anti-hero?) in the history of film.  He’s hard and bitter and cynical at first – but not without reason.  The bit in the cafe at night where he’s drinking and talking to himself/Sam along with the part where Ilsa leaves him at the train station…always give me a huge lump in my throat and an ache in my heart.  He does an incredibly awesome, brave thing at the end as well and that’s mostly what defines him as a great hero, even though he doesn’t get the girl.

// The Love Triangle //

TRIANGLE

Because they’re required in every great story.

Notorious: Alicia, Devlin, and Alex.  The scenes with all three of them are so tense, no matter what’s going on.  Alex gets jealous easily because he’s so much older than Alicia and, come on, it’s obvious that she and Devlin are in love.  It really is.

Casablanca: Ilsa, Rick, and Laszlo.  May I just say that I really like Laszlo?  He grows on me with every viewing.  Anyway, this love triangle is unique because the story ends with the girl still with the same guy she was with at the beginning (that’s sounded so awkward, but you get the idea).

// The Villains //

VILLAINS

Because they’re crafty and clever and I dig villains.

Notorious: Besides Alex, there’s also his creepy mom and his creepy Nazi friends.  Alex is a sympathetic villain, almost, because you can kinda tell that he really does care for Alicia (until he discovers she’s a spy, that is).  But his mom is distrustful of her daughter-in-law right from the start.  And those Nazi friends are diabolical.

Casablanca: Does Captain Renault count as a villain?  Not really, I don’t think.  And Major Strasser is just…there.  Doesn’t do much, truth be told.

// Ending //

ENDING

Because both are perfect.

Notorious: Mannnnn.  I LOVE the ending to this film.  Devlin rescuing Alicia and finally admitting that he loves her and then “Alex, come inside.  We want to talk to you.” (not an exact quote, but still) *shivers*  So great.  Hitchcock really knows how to end a movie (except for The Birds – that was just weird).

Casablanca: Who doesn’t know the ending to Casablanca?  Even if you’ve never watched it, over half of the most iconic quotes are found in the last ten minutes or so.  “Hill of beans”, “usual suspects”, “looking at you, kid” (okay, that one was said earlier on), and “always have Paris”, “beautiful friendship”…so quotable.  And the ending is majorly tearjerking as well.

// Overall //

OVERALL

Both Notorious and Casablanca are outstanding examples of film-making at its very best.  But Casablanca is my second favorite movie of all time, so it kind of wins by default, right?  Notorious is still one of my top favorites, though. (And Ingrid Bergman is a luminous presence in both films.)

Which of these two films do you like best?

Eva