Favourite Movies: Notorious (1946)

Published May 29, 2016 by quoteunquotesir

[“Notorious” is] the right people in the right place in the right roles in front of the camera and behind the camera doing peak work.

It’s everything. It’s a romance, it’s a thriller, it’s a film noir. It’s truly one of the most twisted love stories in the history of Hollywood.

Stephen Rebello, Author

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious” is one of those blessed productions that excels in every area of film making and never falters. To paraphrase Roger Ebert describing “The Dark Knight” relative to its comic book brethren, this is the kind of movie that slips around my defenses and engages me. I’m not a big fan of Cary Grant or Alfred Hitchcock. I’ve watched all of Hitchcock’s most revered movies and don’t like most of them. The only three that completely enthrall me are “Notorious”, “North By Northwest”, and “Psycho”.

Having just watched “Notorious” for the second time ever, I’ve come to the conclusion that part of what makes “North By Northwest” and “Psycho” so successful is how they draw inspiration from their 1946 predecessor. A crucial element in “Notorious” is the premise of a son being compelled towards evil by his mother’s influence.“Psycho” expands on that idea with dread fascination and deliciously terrifying results. In both “Notorious” and “North By Northwest”, Hitchcock proves that no one could harness, exploit, and highlight Cary Grant’s potential as a dramatic leading man better than him.

Before “Notorious”, I wasn’t even sure if Cary Grant had any talent. Women obviously found him very handsome and charismatic as a screen presence, but that doesn’t mean he could act. This way of thinking is probably a reason why the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences never gave him one of their acting awards for any of his individual performances. For the longest time, I believed they shouldn’t. I thought he was a fraud who just got by on his looks.

I don’t feel that way anymore, because of his performance in “Notorious.” His is a tricky part, playing a man who must be evasive, reserved, and guarded with emotions. He does that impeccably, giving the audience hints of inner turmoil expertly suppressed. There is a scene he plays looking out the window isolated from other characters as they converse. Listening to Ingrid Bergman and his bosses discuss disturbing news, he looks quite composed, putting on a straight face. Due to an excellent handle of understatement that he’d demonstrate even better later, I could sense his pain while he appeared calm to everybody in the room.

Cary Grant’s character falls in love with a woman he’s been assigned to let become another man’s consort so she can spy on criminal activities. Grant’s Devlin is a man of high values. At first he doesn’t like the woman, believing that she’s impure and vulgar – a promiscuous drunk. Then he gets to know her and discovers her goodness. Their hasty courtship is at once comedic, tragic, and romantic. She is so affectionate and eager, we understand why he comes to love her so easily. At the same time, there’s agony of her begging him to admit his feelings while he can’t. He wishes it were possible, but it’s his job to give her away.

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman occupy the roles of two people at the mercy of an excruciatingly stifling dilemma in “Notorious.” The irony of their situation is devastating and they have to play some very complicated emotions as actors and characters. They have many reasons to despise both each other and themselves. These are always contradicted by the love that organically developed between them before their responsibilities got in the way. He loves her for who she really is, yet his assignment is forcing her to be the opposite.

She loves him for who he is and hates what he’s making her do. Resentment sets in when he reacts coldly to her reports of what she’s done for him. He has to appear unsympathetic because they could be (and sometimes are) seen by the enemy. We can understand why she is angry at degrading herself for him and the mission. There’s a scene where she conveys it through passive-aggressive smugness. Pretending to be flippant when actually ashamed and bitter, Bergman casually says, “Just a minor item that you may want for the record. You can add Sebastian’s name to my list of playmates.” Sift through the discreet, production code-mandated 1940s language and you’re left with a disturbing implication:
“Oh, by the way, I fucked this guy for you.”

Cary Grant’s reacting facial expression shows masterful subtlety – perhaps the movie’s best example of how superbly he can act. He barely drops his unshakable facade of suave indifference, reacting just briefly and quietly enough for us to sense his pain. His hurt is hidden well, as it should be by a man in his secret agent position. Being watched, he can’t let her or anyone else know how much the news upsets him. He does just enough for us to know.

Further enhancing the picture’s depth and originality in story and characterization is Claude Rains as target of an intricate ruse perpetrated by Grant, Bergman, and the American government. Rains provides another character and performance with more layers than most in movies. He is an associate of Nazis. Like Norman Bates in “Psycho”, he’s a man whose mother inspires him to harm others and it’s repugnant. He agrees to a cruel scheme that involves slowly poisoning his wife over an extended period. He creepily does horrible things, yet is one of the movie’s most pitiable characters, possibly second, behind Bergman and ahead of Grant.

The Rains character may be a weak-willed man with unsavoury alliances who willingly does something abominable to the heroic Bergman, but he also deserves sympathy. This is a man who has been in love with someone for years, and when she finally marries him, it’s under false pretenses. She does it just to dig up dirt on he and his so-called friends, who he knows will kill him if they find out. He’s also the only character in this movie who never lies about his feelings.

What we have in “Notorious” is Alfred Hitchcock proving the breadth of his directing prowess better than at any time before and three of movie history’s best performers doing their finest work…all at once! I don’t care much for most of Alfred Hitchcock’s work after and especially before “Notorious”, but believe this movie alone justifies his place in the pantheon of most honoured movie directors.

The way Hitchcock uses the camera in this movie is absolutely spectacular. From the early scenes, I was quite mesmerized by it. Right at the beginning, there are many examples of how he sets up shots that have exciting innovation, style, and impact. It’s so clever how he shows Ingrid Bergman’s point of view while driving with hair blowing in front her face by having it seem to hit the camera.

Tension is generated by shots of Cary Grant’s hands tentatively advancing towards her car’s steering wheel, nervous that he might have to intervene as she drunkenly swerves all over the road.

More obvious, yet no less creative and effective is another point of view shot with the camera spinning to show hungover perception.

Ingrid Bergman’s performance in this movie is so dead-on suited to her strengths that after first seeing it in 2012, I was motivated to seek out as many of her movies as possible. I got so anxious to find other movies that made such exquisite use of her. This is exactly what happened with Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall, and Miriam Hopkins after I watched “Trouble In Paradise” for the first time. It was such an indelible experience and they were all so glorious together. I was left consumed by a desire to recapture that thrill of seeing them again in roles they owned better than anyone else ever could.

I have watched so many Ingrid Bergman, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall, and Miriam Hopkins movies because of “Notorious” and “Trouble in Paradise” because those productions taught me that when these people are paired with a right director and script, the results are as good as movies get for me. Ultimately, that’s how I define “Notorious.” It is a movie that almost makes me afraid to watch others (especially recent releases) because I know they’ll suffer by comparison. Like “Trouble in Paradise”, it brings to mind the concept of alchemy, which I know as a brilliant convergence of different individual elements into a perfect whole.

Five extremely talented people (Three cast, one director, and one writer) came together and created something that showcases them at the peak of their considerable powers. In its context, they are better than they’d ever been and ever would be. When it’s over, the entire movie is like a puzzle’s final piece clicking into place and rewarding us with a picture of overwhelming beauty and unexpected originality. Parts and whole, ends and means, all equally gratifying. Every aspect makes me grateful for where it goes and the journey getting there.

I’ve declared Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious” my second favourite movie of the 1940s. I also made a GIF for it and my other favourites of the decade here.

A Woman of Action

Published December 24, 2014 by quoteunquotesir

There is no way Clara Bow can compare to Greta Garbo! But if you think about it, why not?

Had Clara’s screen image been as carefully crafted as Garbo’s, screen immortality would have been hers. Garbo had the luxury of having the great leading men opposite her. Clara did not.

Garbo had a great camera man in William Daniels, and had great directors.

Clara, for the most part, did not. Being thrown bad stories and little preparation for the talkies, Clara was set up for disaster.

Clara would later say,

“I had made [Paramount] millions with what I and many critics thought were lousy pictures,
but I received nothing but a salary,
untrained leading men, and any old story they fished out of the wastebaskets.”

– From article “The ‘It Girl’ of the Twenties”,
Written by Rudy Behmler
Published through “Films in Review” magazine

For a few years now, I’ve been thinking about this question: can someone be a great star without making a lot of great movies? Some people say “no”, because value as a star is determined largely by the quality and consistency of one’s films. I used to agree…until I discovered Clara Bow movies. Over the past 12 months, I have watched 7. I don’t consider any of them classics. I believe they’re full of wasted potential, disappointing writing, undercooked characters, implausible plot developments, and unsatisfying endings.

In spite of these issues, Clara Bow is without a doubt my favourite of all the movie stars I’ve watched in 2014. No matter what problems may plague them, Clara Bow movies will always have a key advantage over countless others: her. Some of my favourite film critics have eloquently reflected on what makes her special. Their words were an inspiration towards my attempt to explain that.

The manic, wide-eyed flapper Clara Bow[…]

Clara Bow, whose vitality was awesome and was combined with a childlike vulnerability, was for her period something like what Marilyn Monroe was for hers (and when she was past her peak, she, too, was celebrated by intellectuals.)

Bow’s infantile sexuality is high-voltage; she’s both repulsive and irresistible.

– Pauline Kael, Film Critic

Critic Leonard Maltin has called Bow “irrepressible”, “uninhibited”, “indefatigable” and “amazingly sensual”. Bow’s appeal has two sides and these words address each. She moves and speaks with the enthusiasm and playfulness of an anxious child, yet there’s an undeniably adult element to her. She is confidently, proudly, and openly flirtatious. The phrase “infantile sexuality” is accurate.

Children can have a sense of wonder in their eyes that isn’t possible later in life…except when Clara Bow has it. I see that in her eyes when she’s attracted to a man in my favourite of her performances. She comes up with methods of winning his affection that are immoral, dishonest, selfish, or dangerous…and makes them adorable too. Her actions are never mean-spirited. She seems to flirt because it feels more natural to her than anything else in the world.

Clara Bow wasn’t as elegantly dressed and groomed or fluid in movement as many desirable Old Hollywood stars. Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, for example, had their hair and make-up very carefully arranged before slinking across the screen in smooth, aristocratic motions. Much of the time, Bow had messy hair, unglamorous clothing, and a rather dirty look. The description “both repulsive and irresistible” makes sense to me. I can see how her sloppy, aggressive quality could be a turn-on and a turn-off.

We’re pretty much playing basic emotions: love, anger, fear, pity. So the trick is whether you can come up with any fresh choices to present these common emotions.

– George C. Scott, Actor

From time to time I’m reminded of George C. Scott’s Rule No. 3 for judging movie acting: “Is there a joy of performance? Can you tell that the actors are having fun?”

– Roger Ebert, Film Critic

There’s so much joy of performance in Clara Bow’s acting. Many of her characters look high on life…as if just released from a cage and placed where they most want to be. She moves and expresses herself more freely and joyously than anyone else. Bow’s performances remind me of the old saying ‘Like a kid in a candy store’. Bow has been called a ‘whirlwind’, ‘wild child’, and ‘dynamite’. She could also be described as a ‘Human tornado’ and ‘Human fireworks display’.

I hate talkies. They’re stiff and limiting.

You lose a lot of your cuteness, because there’s no chance for action, and action is the most important thing to me. [But] I can’t buck progress. I have to do the best I can.

– Clara Bow,
“Motion Picture Classic” magazine, 1930

Bow felt most comfortable in action-heavy roles. That doesn’t mean she was over-the-top or incapable of subtlety. She had a lot of naturalness and sincerity. Her facial expressions infused words on silent movie title cards with tangible emotion, attitude, and personality. I can’t think of any actress who did that better. Her characters had enormous passion. Once a Clara Bow character starts to love a man, you can be sure she’ll never stop, and there’s gonna be some big trouble for him if he doesn’t love her back!

My introduction to Clara Bow was 1929’s “Dangerous Curves”. In that movie, she plays someone in love with a weak, foolish character. This guy was like a metaphor for most movies in her career – unworthy of her heart, soul, and effort. Watching “Dangerous Curves”, I immediately liked Bow’s eager, high-pitched voice and rough New York accent, but didn’t quite love her yet.

I think the movie’s dumb, obvious characters and story got in the way of me fully appreciating Bow, even though I found her performance cute, genuine, and touching. After “It” (another movie I don’t like very much), my feelings towards Bow changed. I knew that even if her movies have huge deficiencies, I’d always be happy to watch her. Once I’ve started, I can’t stop. Just like her.

Further reading:

1. The Unknown Clara Bow
2. ‘You Only Need One’ (my first Clara Bow post)

Telescopes and Transportation

Published November 27, 2014 by quoteunquotesir

“What makes a movie great is not its message or philosophy, but its immediate human experience, and the texture of that experience.

When we go to most movies[…]we remain aware that we’re sitting in the theater watching a movie. But sometimes, a few times a year, we grow so absorbed in the experience of a movie that we literally forget ourselves.

It’s sort of an out-of-the-body experience, we seem to be sharing the identities and experiences of the characters in the movie. In other words, the movie seems to be happening to us. We’re not watching it, we’re living it.”

– Roger Ebert, Film Critic

“I like movies[…]full of characters that we could discuss like we might discuss members of our own family. I love movies that create a complete world that you could talk about[…]after you leave the theater. The great movies take us to worlds we’ve never been before.”

– Gene Siskel, Film Critic

Some of my favourite movies in 2013 could be called ‘star vehicles’. They were designed to make stars look good (like a fancy car). Their actors and actresses play versions of characters that made them (or would make them) popular in other films. I think such productions could also be called ‘telescope’ movies’, because like telescopes, they allow us to see stars at their biggest and brightest.

“What’s the difference between an actor and a movie star? An actor is somebody who pretends to be somebody else. A movie star is somebody who pretends that somebody else is them.”

Nicholas Meyer, director of “Time After Time”, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, and
“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”.

Most of my favourite movies in 2014 are less about stars and more about feelings and ideas. Only two are “telescopes” for their stars. I want to call the others ‘transportation movies.’ Instead of establishing or reinforcing my affection for a star, they drew my attention to physical and emotional spaces of characters and their lives. The stories of these people transported me to perspectives, situations, and worlds I will never enter and examine in my life.

“[Movies] allow us to enter other minds[…]by seeing the world as another person sees it.

We all are born with a certain package[…]We’re kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people.

And for me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy.

It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears.

It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us.”

Roger Ebert

The best-written movies I watched this year revolved around performances by people unfamiliar to me. Through passion, realism, and insight of writing and acting, they made me feel like everything happening to a character happened to me. I thought about characters instead of stars. I had sympathy and empathy for fictional people like I would for friends or family. Imaginary lives taught me about fears, dangers, choices, and possibilities faced by humans in distress.

The best-paced movies transported me to film noir landscapes. They were models of efficient and powerful storytelling, consistently suspenseful and never rushed, despite being under 80 minutes (with one even running only 60 minutes)! They illuminated psychological motivations of cops and criminals. I watched heroic men so disciplined and committed to duty that they’d put aside all personal desires for the sake of justice. I saw fear, resourcefulness, selfishness, and arrogance that motivates intelligent crooks to pull enemies into dark, dangerous worlds.

Some European films have recently shown me the universality of certain human experiences. For example, adolescent growing pains. I keep thinking about a scene that brought back memories of my teenage angst. It shows teens alone in their rooms, obsessing over someone they barely know, surrounded by music that reflects their feelings in lyrics. I remember doing the same thing at 17 years old.

I will always love movies, but not always for the same reasons. This year, I appreciated how they immersed me in identities, experiences, and worlds of characters who became like friends or family. I loved and cared about them. I could relate to our similarities, while also learning from our differences.

Applying what I’ve learned from such characters and their experiences could help me become a better person. In 2013, I loved movies most for making me happier. This year, I loved them most for making me smarter. They gave me access to complicated and challenging lives. By visiting those lives, I’ve gained wisdom and memories that I’ll be grateful to have for the rest of mine.

Favourite Movies I watched for the first time in 2014 (click titles for IMDB links):
1. “L’Amour L’Apres Midi (Chloe in the Afternoon)” (1972)
2. “An Unmarried Woman” (1978)
3. “The Dark Corner” (1946)
4. “Mad Dog and Glory” (1993)
5. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)
6. “Vi är bäst! (We Are the Best!)” (2013)
7. “Show Me Love” (1998)
8. “The Richest Girl in the World” (1934)
9. “Anne Of Green Gables” (1934)
10. “The Prize” (1963)

Honourable mentions: “He walked By Night” (1948), Follow Me Quietly (1949), and “The Narrow Margin” (1952)

The Lasting Miss Crawford

Published October 18, 2014 by quoteunquotesir

As the end of this year gets closer, I’m thinking about movies, actors, and actresses I’ve loved most over its 12 months. I’m also looking back on the history of “Garbo Types!” as I revisit subjects addressed in the past. It’s like making sequels. After my loosely connected posts related to “The Paleface” and “Son of Paleface”, I’m doing a more ‘direct sequel’ by reflecting on Joan Crawford again.

I remember how I felt when I wrote about her way back in January. I was so moved by 1931’s “Possessed” that I wanted to immediately go online and announce my love for this woman to the world. I can never forget how she looked into Clark Gable’s eyes while singing “How Long Will It Last?” and wondering about his feelings for her. I questioned my feelings too. Would other movies and performances disappoint me and diminish my affection for her? Or would I continue to find ones that reinforce and sustain it?

9 months later, I’m still a Crawford fan, thanks in part to her performances in several ‘rags to riches’ stories. I recently learned that audiences in the ’30s loved watching her play low class working girls who attain high class lives. Girls in movies may do that either by being honest and hardworking underdog heroes or gold digging villains. Joan Crawford has played characters who didn’t fit into one category or the other, landing in between the two extremes.

They support their families by doing such difficult jobs as waitress, maid, or burlesque dancer…like good girls. They choose men based on wealth instead of love…like bad girls. I’m emotionally engaged by contradictions of these characters and conflicting feelings they provoke. I find myself switching between sympathetic and disappointed. When a girl exploits or hurts rich men because she doesn’t want to be poor anymore, I understand why while disapproving of how.

In movies like “Possessed” (1931) and “Sadie McKee” (1934), I can’t keep my eyes off Joan Crawford…and not just because of her beauty (although it’s definitely a factor)! A more significant cause of my fascination is complexity of her characters. Depth, vulnerability, and conviction make them (and my feelings) unpredictable and changeable. In spite of their sins, I want Crawford’s characters to be redeemed, not punished. She makes them forgivable with heartfelt acting that conveys how much they want to do the right thing.

Crawford’s social climbers were never passive and always flawed, with passion that gave resonance to their stories. This year, Joan Crawford has been responsible for many of my favourite characters and performances in movies. I can think of one reason that’s more important than any others. It may explain why her career started in the 1920s and continued until 1970: She was built to last.

A Tribute to Garbo

Published September 18, 2014 by quoteunquotesir

You merely feel you must put yourself in a romantic mood to add to your exhilaration.

– Greta Garbo, “Ninotchka”, 1939

On September 18, 2012, I watched several Greta Garbo movies on TV. They were part of a marathon celebrating her birthday. After watching “Queen Christina”, I was sure it would be my favourite of all the movies I watched that year. It was. I also believed Greta Garbo would always be my favourite actress. I have acquired many more favourites in the years since, but she still is my ‘number one.’

In 2013, I wanted to do something special for Greta Garbo’s birthday. After months of preparation, I completed an overview of her career. In 2014, I posted an expanded version, which can be accessed by this blog’s Garbo Works! link.

From this page you can access some of my other Garbo tribute pages. Like “Garbo Works!”, each is a labour of love, started on other websites and completed here. “Garbo Party” collects Garbo references from movies and TV. It was updated every time I found another. The last one added was from “Gilmore Girls”, a show I never watched. I was informed about this reference by someone who did watch the show. I encourage anyone to contact about any if they can find a Garbo reference not on my list. I’m always happy to learn that more exist. “Garbo Types!” also includes a collection of GIFS from her animated appearances in various cartoons. I shared my GIFs from this section along with some information about the cartoons at a website called Garbo Forever. Click here for the cartoon section, which includes my contributions in its GIFs and commentary.

I often see connections between Greta Garbo and pop culture. It’s natural, since I’ve loved pop culture so much more since I became aware of her contributions to it. Garbo has made me happier with myself too, by inspiring such positive feelings in me. I think she and I are kindred spirits. We are people of contradictions. She was private and reserved in her personal life, yet tender and emotive on screen. This reminds me of how I am shy, quiet, and guarded with most people, yet open, loud, and expressive with friends.

There are many stories of Garbo being cold and rude, while some who knew her say she was playful and warm, with an arch sense of humour. She had many sides and is a subject of endless fascination for myself and others. Garbo was sometimes an off-putting and bewildering figure. She was also one of the most beautiful women ever to walk this earth. She is different from every other star or icon I love. At the same time, some of my favourite people remind me of her.

For example, there are times when I’ve found myself thinking about similarities between Garbo and Batman – my favourite comic book hero. I’m not the only person who has thought about the intense, often brooding ‘Dark Knight’ and intense, often brooding ‘Swedish Sphinx’ having some commonalities. A 1939 Disney cartoon suggests that, like Batman, Miss Garbo might like to ride around in a car made just for her. If such a car existed, I’d want to buy it. I don’t think I’d drive it. Driving a vehicle with my favourite celebrity’s face on its front is a perfect way to look ridiculous. This isn’t a car for the masses!

That’s part of why I think it makes sense for Garbo. She is not exactly a star for the masses. I believe (to reference one of her movies) there are fewer, but better Garbo fans. Greta Garbo fans are some of my favourite movie fans. Our operation is small…but new people are discovering (and loving) Garbo all the time. To the Garbo fans, I dedicate sections of this blog about her. Welcome, comrades!

Trigger Happy

Published August 13, 2014 by quoteunquotesir

I’ve been thinking about how the Internet has negatively affected me as a movie fan. A lot of people online are fixated on ratings and analyzing movies to excess. I got caught up in that for awhile. Every time I finished watching a movie, I made all this extra work for myself. First, I’d have to determine why it should be deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Then, I had to figure out an appropriate star rating or number out of ten to assign it. Lots of pretentious judging. I think it’s better to politely and maturely explain one’s reaction to movies, instead of just arrogantly dissecting, labeling, or insulting them.

I’ve adapted a new approach to watching movies. Its purpose is to help me avoid being smug towards them. Now, I almost always watch nothing but movies I like from start to finish. If I can’t do that, I usually skip the movie. This way, I can focus on positives. Ratings would be redundant because they’d all be the same (i.e. between 8 and 10 out of 10 or 4-5 stars). I can’t believe I ever wasted my time watching movies I don’t like, then going online to broadcast mean comments or stupid ratings. These days, I usually only put up with frustrating movies if they feature a favourite actor or actress. I trust these people and their charisma to make any movie bearable.

It has been difficult to let go of my old hypercritical attitude. “Son of Paleface” made it easy by reminding me of what it’s like to be so busy having fun with a movie that I can’t think about things like ratings and criticisms. This is a loose sequel* to “The Paleface”. It reunites Bob Hope and Jane Russell as new characters. Hope is absurdly cast as son of his character from the previous movie.

Russell does everything I loved seeing her do in the first ‘Paleface’ movie and more. Once again, she plays a tough girl who is handy with a gun. What’s new (and a welcome change) is how she divides her time between being a singing saloon girl and notorious bandit. As saloon girl, the star gets a chance to show off musical talent and a voluptuous figure like she did in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (the movie that introduced me to Russell and made me love her).

The songs she sings are energetic, cheerful, and cleverly-written. The Oscar-winning “Buttons and Bows” from “The Paleface” (still among my favourite songs heard in movies this year) gets a reprise, sung as a duet by Russell and Roy ‘The (Singing) King of Cowboys’ Rogers. Bob Hope repeatedly interrupts them with new spoken word lyrics. Somehow, he’s simultaneously annoying and amusing.

“Son of Paleface” is the kind of sequel that strives to be bigger and better. More songs and characters, more elaborate stunts, and more ambitious action sequences. The cast is expanded by both Roy Rogers and ‘Trigger’, his horse. Introduced in opening credits as ‘The Smartest Horse in Movies’, Trigger lives up to his reputation. In a hilarious scene, he and Bob Hope fight over bed covers. Every time Trigger pulled the covers with his teeth, I laughed harder.

Other highlights include a surreal desert mirage, Russell taking a bubble bath, her secret hideout (which looks like something out of a comic book movie), and a comedic action sequence that immediately brought to mind a classic scene from “The Simpsons”.

I like the first ‘Paleface’ movie a little more than the second. I wasn’t always pleased to see Bob Hope and Jane Russell sharing screen time with Roy Rogers. His heroics bring some exciting action to the plot, yet he feels like a bit of a ‘third wheel’ who needs to lighten up. I love Hope’s reaction when he asks Rogers, “Don’t you like girls?” and the stolid dork replies, “I’ll stick to horses, Mister.”

Both of these movies feature an Oscar-nominated song that I love. In “Son of Paleface”, it’s called “Am I In Love?” The lyrics remind me of what I’ve been saying about how people should try not to risk making movies less enjoyable by analyzing and evaluating so much.

Am I in love?
Well, I really couldn’t say!
I don’t know why I’m feelin’ this way
But the feelin’ feels okay!

“Am In Love”
(Lyrics by Jack Brooks)

Like love, movies are sometimes better experienced without strained reflection. There is no need to rigidly assess and define. The pleasures of something can render a cataloging of its flaws pointless. “Son of Paleface” is broad, silly, and corny. It lacks believable character development and the flimsy, implausible plot is mostly an excuse for visual and verbal jokes. I’m sure many folks would happily put down the movie and rate it poorly for those reasons. If they do, I don’t want to hear about it. Is this a ‘good’ movie or a ‘bad’ movie? It’s a movie that makes me smile. That’s enough.

* Just like “Son of Paleface” is loosely a sequel to “The Paleface”, what I’ve written above is kind of a sequel to something I wrote in February.