Saturday, June 19, 2010

Eight Films For A Rainy Weekend. Part II

Well, the weather here is abysmal, it has done nothing but rain for days, It's coming up to midsummers day and we have experienced scant good weather, what on earth is going on!  The garden is waterlogged, our guests left early as they had had enough.  There is little to do in the countryside when it's like this.  I am fighting the urge to google estate agents in warmer climes or drink my way through the wine cellar.  No, instead it's back to the DVD's so here is another in my series of eight films for a rainy weekend.

As I am in a 'Jazz Age' kind of mood at the moment I am choosing eight films set in the Art Deco Period.

Starring: Stephen Campbell Moore, Peter O 'Toole, Emily Mortimer, Dan Aykroyd, Simon McBurney, Michael Sheen

Adapted from Evelyn Waugh's novel 'Vile Bodies' Bright Young Things is the directorial debut for Stephen Fry and follows the lives of a novelist, Adam (Stephen Campbell Moore) and his would-be lover, Nina (Emily Mortimer) as they mix with the 'bright young things' who inhabit the upper echelons of fashionable London. As his friends look for newer more dangerous sensations they crash and burn one-by-one.

 The Cat's Meow
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Edward Herrmann, Eddie Izzard, Cary Elwes, Joanna Lumley

In November 1924, multimillionaire William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) hosts a weekend of festivities aboard his 220-foot steamer in honor of filmmaker Thomas Ince's (Cary Elwes) birthday. It seems that everyone on board wants something from Hearst. Ince and his partner, George Thomas (Victor Slezak), need his financial assistance for their faltering business; gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly), an East Coast Hearst employee, wants to transfer to Tinseltown; and comedian womanizer Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard) wants Hearst's lover Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst) for his own. Joined by other party goers, including English Victorian novelist Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley) and Ince's mistress, the actress Margaret Livingston (Claudia Harrison), the group ships off for a weekend of fun and debauchery. The festivities soon turn more serious as Chaplin pursues Davies, fueling Hearst's jealousy over their alleged relationship. Ince, meanwhile, attempts to ingratiate himself with Hearst by keeping an eye on Chaplin and Davies. Ultimately, jealousy leads to tragedy, with all of the party goers sworn to secrecy over what transpired. Director Peter Bogdanovich (MASK) successfully recreates the opulence of Hearst's lifestyle and the spirit of the Roaring Twenties right down to the bootleg moonshine and the Charleston.

 A Good Woman 
Starring: Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Campbell Moore, Mark Umbers

Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson fight over the same rich young man in this sumptuously elegant and loose adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windemere's Fan. The setting for the action is moved from Victorian England's parlors to Italy's gorgeous Amalfi coast in the early 1930's. A vacationing American couple, the Windermeres (Johansson and Mark Umbers), meet scandal when caught up in a web of expatriate British slander after Mr. Windermere apparently starts having an affair with the notorious gold-digger, Mrs. Erlynne (Hunt). Meanwhile, the debauched Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore) takes it upon himself to comfort the tearful and lovely Mrs. Windermere, and Tuppy (Tom Wilkinson), an older member of the British circle, sees there's a sweet woman being hurt by all the malicious gossip and falls for Mrs. Erlynne himself. The gossip may be malicious, but no one writes it as well as Wilde, and here his famed quips--many flown in from other plays--flourish in wild abundance. Johansson is a knockout, and there are lots of elegant costumes and intricately decorated Italian villas, all captured in an enticingly dusky cinematographic style. Performances vary in stylistic approach, with Wilkinson carrying the day as the well-intentioned, self-effacing Tuppy, the vulnerable human center of this dizzying ring of barbed witticisms and elegant subterfuge. 

Starring: Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jessica Biel, Kimberley Nixon

Set in the twilight of the roaring twenties and at the cusp of the next decade, Easy Vrtue is the story of John Whittaker, a young Englishman who, after falling head-over-heels in love with glitzy American Larita, finds himself getting married rather promptly. Returning to the family home, Larita's newfound mother-in-law develops an instant allergic reaction to the Whitakers' newest family member. While accommodating to Mrs Whittaker's prickly personality at first, Larita quickly discovers that in order to make her marriage work, she must play her mother-in-law at her own game, and a battle of wits ensue...

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Jeanne Moreau, Theresa Russell, Donald Pleasence, Ingrid Boulting

The seedy underbelly of the Hollywood film industry is brought to light in Elia Kazan's powerful adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's last, unfinished novel. Robert DeNiro anchors the film with his commanding portrayal of 1930s movie mogul Monroe Stahr (modelled after MGM's studio head Irving Thalberg), a ruthless businessman who dominates studio politics but remains haunted by a lost love from his past. Scripted by playwright Harold Pinter, this rich evocation of 1930s Hollywood features strong supporting performances by Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, and Jack Nicholson

The Great Gatsby

Starring: Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Bruce Dern, Karen Black, Scott Wilson

The story of Jay Gatsby the dashing millionaire who takes a shine to the spoiled Daisy Buchanan. Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio, Fosco Giachetti

This story opens in 1938 in Rome, where Marcello has just taken a job working for Mussollini and is courting a beautiful young woman who will make him even more of a conformist. Marcello is going to Paris on his honeymoon and his bosses have an assignment for him there. Look up an old professor who fled Italy when the fascists came into power. At the border of Italy and France, where Marcello and his bride have to change trains, his bosses give him a gun with a silencer. In a flashback to 1917, we learn why sex and violence are linked in Marcello's mind.

Starring: James Wilby, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Rupert Graves, Anjelica Huston, Judi Dench

Tony and Brenda Last (James Wilby, Kristin Scott Thomas) appear to be the perfect married couple - with money, position, a great country house and an adored son, John Andrew. When Tony inadvertently invites John Beaver (Rupert Graves), an idle and penniless young socialite, to stay for the weekend, he sets in motion a series of events which drastically disrupts the course of all their lives. Brenda drifts into an affair with the worthless Mr Beaver, with disastrous consequences, particularly for Tony, who remains unaware of Brenda's betrayal until the tragic death of their young son. As Brenda leaves home to take up a precarious life with her lover in London, Tony sets sail with an eccentric explorer on an expedition to the South American Rain Forest. Lost in the jungle and stricken by fever, Tony is rescued from death by the eccentric half-caste Mr Todd (Alec Guinness), with unexpected and sinister results.

That concludes my eight films for a rainy weekend, I love films set in this era, so if you have any
more suggestions please let me know.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and it is less damp where you are!

(Please excuse the dodgy spacing on this post, Google html, does not seem to be doing, what I want it to)


  1. Hope the weather soon turns better for you! And in the meantime, you've chosen some period films that look beautiful! Have a great weekend, and enjoy your trip to the past!

  2. I just watched Easy Virtue last week. Loved it. Especially the clothes Jessica Biel wore. Lovely. It's been years since I've seen A Handful of Dust. I must pull that one out again!

    Enjoy your cinematic weekend!

  3. These films look beautiful .. I have only seen one and that was the Great Gatsby, the others I have never heard of.. how ignorant of me... thanks Dash I will attempt to check them out as I know I will love them xx

  4. Dear Dash, I love this period too. In fact I love pretty much any period drama. Do you like the BBC period dramas? My favourites are Bleak House and The Duchess of Duke Street but will watch them all.

    I adore The Great Gatsby. I love all your choices, I could happily watch all of them again. Bright Young Things was very good and I liked all the others too. I have never seen The Last Tycoon or The Conformist but they sound great so will now. I recorded A Good Woman last week and I shall watch it this afternoon as the weather is a bit grey and nothingy here.

    Hope you're good xx

  5. Thanks for the suggestions. I think they will work equally well here where it's to hot to take a breath! A day indoors for sure.

  6. We haven't had it quite so wet as you but it's an odd June.

    Thanks for the film suggestions, always good when searching for inspiration.

  7. Dear Dash, thank you for details of all these lovely films, I have not seen a lot of these, like the look of the one with Colin Firth in! Oh dear, can't think of many to recommend to you , except "I capture the Castle" and recently I saw something with Eva Green in it about a girl's school but can't remember the name, so that's helpful of me!! BX

  8. I loved 'Bright Young Things' and am so pleased you included it. 'Gatsby' is also one I love. 'The Conformist' I saw years ago and I seem to recall that I felt very avante garde in talking about it to people - it was one of the first continental films I ever saw.

    Shame about your weather - it's been lovely in Brittany.

  9. I want BYT to be great--is it? And Handful is a favorite novel/film. Adore dreadful Mr. Beaver and his horrid mother.

  10. Christina, I love all period dramas, I think BBC period dramas are great, YTV's version of Brideshead Revisited has to be one of my favourites.

    Miss Cavendish, I really loved BYT, great cast, fabulous acting, wonderful costumes and settings, what more could one ask for....

  11. Fabulous movie selections! The new releases I haven't seen yet, but I cannot wait to. They look so yummy.


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