Relationships, sex, communists and, somewhere off camera ,World War II — The Male Animal from 1942 is a curious film to say the least. It comes with some pretty impressive credentials, however, including its stars as well as its origins: based on a play by James Thurber and a screenplay with writers that included the Epstein brothers.
I watched and wrote a review of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington the other day. After writing and posting the review I discovered that I had already written a review of it back in 2002. And here’s the thing: the first was a helluva lot better than the one I had just written.
On the other hand, the new review did help me realize I wanted to write something about Jean Arthur (this is not the post). I absolutely love her. Yes, it’s partly due to her squeaky voice that has a “cute” quality to it that you can’t resist. However, it’s also because I think she was a pretty darned good actor, particularly as a comedic actor.
Many of her movies are among my favourites like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can’t Take it With You and Only Angels Have Wings. (Look who she worked with: Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant!) To learn a little bit about her, have a look at the bio on IMDb.
I don’t really like the term “appreciation” but I suppose that is what I hope to write. Before that, though, I hope to learn a bit more about her by picking up John Oller’s biography of her from about ten years ago, Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew.
By the way, one of the initiating factors in my watching and collecting of older movies was Jean Arthur. Sometime around 2000 or 2001 a series of DVDs were released under the heading Columbia Classics. Movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Only Angels Have Wings were among them and they are what got me interested in Jean Arthur.