The Male Animal is one peculiar movie

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.

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How and why Nick and Nora work

The series of Thin Man movies answers the question, “What does happily ever after look like?”

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The Romantic John Wayne

It’s hard to think of John Wayne and romance at the same time. The image of one and the image of the other don’t rest well side by side; one seems to negate the other.

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Dodsworth: I love a surprise

I had planned to watch The Third Man last night. I had planned to watch the hockey game (Stanley Cup finals). I was undecided which way to go. Maybe I’d see how the first period went and, if not well, switch to the Carol Reed movie?

As it turns out, William Wyler took the decision out of my hands …

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Less fun than sobering: Spielberg’s Catch Me

I watched Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can yet again (third time) over the weekend and now I’m back to my original opinion (as opposed to the one expressed below). Despite being promoted as ‘fun,’ and despite the sixties style ‘fun’ animation of the title sequence, this is really a rather somber story of a young man desperate to save his father from a marriage and life that are disintegrating.

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Cary Grant — who was that guy?

I’ve been reading the Marc Eliot biography of Cary Grant (titled, appropriately enough, Cary Grant) and it’s interesting to see how Cary (Archie Leach) was an odd fellow while at the same time, in his oddness, a lot like the rest of us.

There’s a great deal in the book about Grant’s sexuality – was he straight, gay, bisexual, what? Assuming the accuracy of the account, which appears based on inference (though justifiable, I think, given what evidence is available), bisexual would be the best description. And while accurate, in a strictly categorizing way, I think a better descriptive word would be confused. Which is why I think Cary Grant was like the rest of us (though considerably better looking).

He sounds emotionally defensive, probably due to his childhood – like his parents and their relationship (and being told his mother was dead then learning, years later, she was actually in a mental facility). So he sounds like a guy, Archie Leach, who was lonely, having difficulty connecting, who created a persona to present to the world, “Cary Grant.” Cary was the guy up on the screen.

But slowly, after a while, he wondered if perhaps he hadn’t become Cary Grant, the image. Which reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut line about, “…we are what we pretend to be.”

It’s interesting how we become certain people without necessarily realizing it until, one day, we wonder how we ever became that guy staring back from the mirror.