The Classiest Classic Movies I Revisited This Year
by Anne Helen Petersen
… for free, or near-free, via Amazon Prime.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Gary Cooper, I forgot what an endearing dolt you are in this movie. I forgot how sheepish you look when hungover and rumpled. Jean Arthur, I forgot how snippy and delightful you could be, and how great all the Vermont jokes are. I forgot that I could actually stomach a Frank Capra film, and even like it. And full-length silk man-pajamas, sweet lord, I forgot how hot you could be.
Adam’s Rib (1949)
Katharine Hepburn, I forgot that I honestly love you in everything. Even when you’re a little shrill and pointy, I still want to be you. I forgot how much this movie makes me want to be a lawyer (STOP ME, STOP ME RIGHT NOW) and how it even kinda makes me like your grandpa-ish man Spencer. I forgot how much I love it when you fight — with anyone, with everyone — and how great you shoulders look in every shoulder-padded dress MGM throws at you.
Warren Beatty, I’m truly sorry that I forgot you were a fox. Even when you’re in a ruffled tuxedo shirt, bell bottoms, and feathered hair, I want you to call me up and ask me What’s New, Pussycat. Julie Christie, I forgot you were even foxier, and Goldie Hawn, I forgot that your look in this movie is the same as your daughter in Almost Famous. Shampoo, I forgot that you’re an incisive political critique dressed up as a movie about hair-dryers and sex: like Boogie Nights with even tighter clothing and more lavender.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Cary Grant, I’m sorry that I forgot you were in things other than screwballs comedies and Hitchcock movies. I forgot that this movie about an evil Cary Grant-brother who makes his sidekick redesign his face with every crime — and batty Aunts who accidentally/on-purpose kill lonely old men — is, well, okay, actually a screwball comedy. I forgot how secondary romance is to the plot, and how awesome that is, and how I really just want to watch Grant yelp around and figure out that people are weird and macabre. And Peter Lorre, I am SO, SO SORRY, I forgot that you are the BEST CHARACTER ACTOR OF ALL TIME. Please forgive me before you operate on my face.
Now, Voyager (1942 )
Oh oh oh Bette, I forgot how you pioneered the nerdy-girl-to-sexy-girl transformation. I forgot how sleek you look in that white hat when you first made your way, post-sexy-girl transformation, onto the cruise ship. I forgot how exquisitely matronly you look before, all glasses and grandma dresses. I forgot how erotic you made the sharing of cigarettes look, and how pissed I got with you when you [SPOILER] gave up romance to be a mom of a mildly annoying young girl. Most of all, I forgot how much you made me cry, and how glad I am that motherhood and sex are no longer (usually) (cinematically) mutually exclusive.
Previously: Scandals of Classic Hollywood.
Anne Helen Petersen is a Doctor of Celebrity Gossip. No, really. You can find evidence (and other writings) here.