On the subject of films, I think 2013 is just my year for finding new favorite things in it. Right before the end of last year, for example, I realized how absolutely fabulous old British films are (especially the 1940s Gainsborough melodramas, but more on that momentarily); still before the end of the last year I found Stewart Granger (and fell hopelessly in love, let's be real); this week I found Eleanor Parker (Ellie, oh heavens, where has she been all this time, that's what I want to know); and I'm positive there will be more.
Speaking of Eleanor Parker, she must be the loveliest girl ever to walk the face of the planet, and, my goodness, can she act. She was the star of The Naked Jungle, which as far as I could tell is a sort of romantic twist on a story I read in school a while back, "Leiningen Versus the Ants" by Carl Stephenson, although it took me the whole movie to realize that. (Natalie, his name is Leiningen. Get with it, lassie). The movie was mostly jungles and marrying people you've never met who live in jungles and killer ants who also live in said jungles and ... I rather enjoyed it. Charleston Heston got less unattractive as the movie progressed and Ellie just kept getting prettier.
LOOK AT HER.
Then there was The Wicked Lady, one of the many costume melodramas made at Gainsborough studios in England during the forties. They all, as far as I've seen, star variations of the same cast: Patricia Roc, James Mason, Margaret Lockwood, Phyllis Calvert, and Stewart Granger. Oh, and Jean Kent always seems to be hanging about. The Wicked Lady got Mason, Roc, and Lockwood.
Watching classic English films is such an experience, because if there was any production code then it was quite lenient. Thus from the depths of British film greatness spring lines like "Go get my son some food, you cheap slut." [quote via Madonna of the Seven Moons, thank you very much], and movies like Madonna of the Seven Moons in general. It's things like that, that make these films so, shall we say, appealing to me. Because I find it hysterical, and The Wicked Lady was no exception.
For your entertainment (or shock and horror, take your pick) a brief summary of Miss Margaret Lockwood's character's activities in The Wicked Lady, she: stole her friend's fiance, fell in love with someone else on her wedding night, got bored of her husband, became a highwayman (because obviously that's what a person ought to do when they're bored), cheated on her husband with another highwayman, murdered a carriage driver, murdered the butler who found out about the highwayman deal, found out the highwayman lover was cheating on her, turned her highwayman lover in to the police to be hung, re-found the person she fell in love with on her wedding night (he's now engaged to the friend she stole a man from before), makes the wedding-night guy fall in love with her again, murders her highwayman lover who didn't actually die when he was hung, attempts to murder her husband to get him out of the way too, *spoilers* gets shot herself and dies alone. *end spoilers* The End. Quite a pleasant film, no? Shhh, I watch great movies. I liked it quite a lot, but like I say I do have a taste for this sort of thing. My only regret is that Stewart Granger wasn't in this one as he almost was. He was supposed to play James Mason's role and all the time I could hear Jimmy's [Jimmy Granger's] voice in my head saying all of James Mason's lines. I guess it was all for the best though, Jimmy Granger went off and made Caravan instead, which I'm not complaining about because that movie is horrifying and awesome. Caravan is my favorite guilty pleasure, although...I feel no guilt whatsoever over the amount of pleasure I get from watching it.