Tag Archives: Paris When It Sizzles

The Classics For Comfort Blogathon

The Classic Movie Blog Association is hosting this blogathon about classic era films which bring us comfort. We have been asked to share 5 of our favourite comforting classics. Be sure to visit the CMBA site to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself.  Classics For Comfort blogathonWe all have those special films and TV series that we reach for on the shelves when we’re going through upsetting or difficult times. While there are many lovely films to be found in all decades of cinema, the classic film era has an abundance of feelgood and gentle films.

Watching a black and white romantic drama,or a dazzling Technicolor musical, can often be just what the doctor ordered during tough times. There’s also nothing better than spending time with all those acting legends and memorable characters either. Watching classic era films is like spending time with old friends as far as I’m concerned. 

           Just a few of the many classics that provide comfort for me. Image source IMDb. 

In the terrifying and uncertain times which we’re living in at the moment, I think that classic era films are more important for our emotional wellbeing than they’ve ever been before. Here are five of my favourite comfort classics. I highly recommend them all to anyone who is struggling.

                                                     Paris When It Sizzles(1964)

William Holden and Audrey Hepburn reunite for the second and final time on screen to play Hollywood scriptwriter Richard Benson, and his secretary Gabrielle, who are trying to come up with potential storylines and characters for a new film. Along the way the pair fall in love. I often turn to this one when times are tough because it’s just so much fun. It’s also very romantic and is pure escapism. I love how it pokes fun at the film industry and at all those film cliches we’ve all become so familiar with. 

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Audrey and William. Image source IMDb.

My favourite part of the film is seeing Audrey and William also playing the various characters and acting out the potential storylines of Richard’s script – from a rich girl being wined and dined by a vampire, to a young woman who gets caught up with a smooth spy.  Audrey and William have amazing chemistry and the way the pair look at each other just melts my heart. This one never fails to leave me smiling after I’ve watched it. You can’t fail to be charmed by this delightful film. You can read my full review here. 

                                                    Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

One of the most joyous films ever made. If there is anyone out there who dislikes this or isn’t left feeling happy after watching it, then I for one don’t ever want to know them. I fell in love with this from the first time I ever saw it. This film is so much more than just a musical and has something in it for everyone to enjoy. I particularly love the film within a film, the songs and elaborate dance routines, the beautiful costumes, and the stunning use of Technicolor. Most of all I love the characters and the comedy.

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Gene and Debbie dress for the weather. Image source IMDb.

The whole cast are sensational, with special praise going to Gene Kelly, Jean Hagen(who steals the show as far as I’m concerned), Donald O’Connor. Cyd Charisse proves once again that she’s one of the best dancers of all time and gets one of the most unforgettable screen entrances of all time. Singin’ In The Rain not only leaves me with a big smile on my face every time I watch it, but it also makes me feel like things will get better and my days will get brighter.

                                            The Ghost And Mrs. Muir (1947)

A lonely and underappreciated widow melts the gruff and grumpy heart of a former sea Captain, and he in return gives her the love and companionship she has never received. Sure it sounds like one of those really well known and predictable romantic story plotlines, but this is a love story with a difference due to the Captain being a ghost. The growing bond and attraction between Captain Gregg and Mrs. Lucy Muir is my main reason for loving this one so much. 

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Captain Gregg and Mrs. Muir. Image source IMDb.

Bernard Herrmann’s beautiful and atmospheric score is the perfect accompaniment to the film. Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison are both terrific, and there’s the added bonus of my boy George Sanders in full charming cad mode. You can read my full review here. 

                                                     It’s Great To Be Young (1956)

I first came across this little gem while flicking through the channels on TV sometime in the early 2000’s. I had missed the beginning and had no idea what the title was or what it was about, but despite that I got so caught up in the film and absolutely loved the characters and story. The film stayed with me and it was only a few years ago that I finally discovered the title.

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Mr. Dingle and some of his students. Screenshot by me.

This is one of my favourite inspirational teacher films and a large part of why that is, is due to John Mills’s fantastic performance as History and Music teacher Mr. Dingle.

He is so passionate about teaching music and about nurturing and encouraging the students in his care. He cares about his students and takes the time to hear their troubles and try and help them. They love him and admire him greatly in return. I think Mr. Dingle is the sort of teacher all children deserve. The film is one of the earliest British teen musicals and was one of the most popular films at the British box office in 1956. It’s Great To Be Young is so much fun and always leaves me feeling as though all is right in the world, as well as putting a spring in my step.

                                                            Random Harvest(1942)

Some may think that this weepie won’t make for the most comforting of films but they would be wrong. Random Harvest is so much more than a tearjerker, it’s a film about lovely and kind people, true love, and about the lengths we will go to in order to help a loved one. It’s also one of the greatest romantic dramas of all time. I find this one comforting due to all the lovely characters, especially Paula and Smithy(Greer Garson and Roland Colman). 

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Greer and Ronald. Image source IMDb.

Paula reaches out to the shell shocked and amnesic Smithy, and in doing so shows him there is still kindness and gentleness in the world. She sees past the trauma and damage to the lonely and hurting soul beneath. She helps him to heal. He in turn is the most loving and gentle man she could ever hope to have as either a friend or a lover. Random Harvest is a film about compassion and enduring love, healing, hope and second chances. While it causes many tears to be shed, it also leaves you with a feeling of hope – hope that the lonely and ill can find love and acceptance, and that somewhere out there is the soulmate we are meant to walk through life with. 

The Duo Double Feature Blogathon: William Holden and Audrey Hepburn

Movie Duo blogathonThe Flapper Dame and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies are hosting this blogathon all about screen duos who only ever made two films together. Be sure to visit their sites to read all the entries. I can’t wait to read them all myself.

I’m writing about one of my favourite screen couples. Who are they? That couple are William Holden and Audrey Hepburn. They were two of the most popular American film stars of the 1950’s and 60’s, and they sure did have some amazing chemistry with one another. You would have thought that they would have been paired together more regularly, sadly that was just not to be. 

They only ended up working together twice in their entire careers. I like them so much because they have such incredible chemistry, they really make you feel and believe their respective characters growing feelings for one another. There are some romantic screen teams out there that fit together like hands in gloves; Myrna Loy and William Powell, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson etc. I consider William and Audrey to be one of those types of screen couples.

The couple were first paired together in Sabrina (1954). This charming romantic comedy tells the story of a chauffer’s daughter (Audrey Hepburn) who is in love with two wealthy brothers (William Holden and Humphrey Bogart). They both love her in return, but which of the two will end up capturing her heart forever? If you haven’t seen the film I won’t spoil the final outcome for you.

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Audrey and William share a dance in Sabrina. Screenshot by me.

Audrey and William shine in their shared scenes together here. There is a real warmth and tenderness between them that really helps in their romantic scenes. During the making of this film the pair fell in love and had a brief affair, so their chemistry is the real thing and it really does show on screen.

Sadly their real life relationship didn’t have a happy ending. Audrey was desperate for children and William having had a vasectomy couldn’t give her that which she desired above all else. Plus William was also married at the time which put an obstacle in their path of happiness, but he certainly fell hard for Audrey, no doubt about it.

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Audrey and William between takes on Sabrina. Image source IMDb. 

In this film I love them the most in the dance scene out on the terrace, they fit together perfectly and look so at ease in each others arms. I think that it is more than simply acting between them in that scene, there is a real connection between them that you can see. The way William looks at her I think it’s like he’s looking into her soul, and she looks at him with such adoration and joy in her face. I could watch these two dance and flirt forever and still feel that magical connection and still be enchanted by them.

I also really love them in the scene outside the train station where Holden’s car screeches to a halt when he sees Audrey waiting for a taxi. Their comic back and forth banter in the sequence is a real joy, and once again their reactions to one another are so genuine.

The couple were reunited on screen ten years later. This time to star in the extremely underrated Paris When It Sizzles, a romantic comedy that is also one big in joke about filmmaking. The film pokes fun at many different film related things, from method acting, to how scriptwriters come up with their stories. 

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William and Audrey in Paris When It Sizzles. Screenshot by me.

A secretary (Audrey Hepburn)is sent to Paris to type up the latest script from a famous film screenwriter (William Holden). She gets drawn into his imagination and the two also find themselves falling in love. We also see all the possible plots he comes up with acted out by William and Audrey playing the different characters from the screenplay.

It was difficult for William to make this film as he still had feelings for Audrey, and at this time he was also drinking rather heavily. There are moments in this film when he looks at her and you can tell that it is not his character looking at her with longing, it is William himself looking at the woman he loves.

It’s quite painful to watch them at times actually in this one because you feel his longing, and when you know what was going on behind the scenes your heart goes out to him. It must have been agony for him to have been so close to her and knowing he couldn’t have her. That agony and longing in a weird way actually works for the film. William’s character finds himself more and more attracted to Audrey’s secretary, but he finds it difficult to pursue his feelings when they have work to do and he’s also not sure if she returns his feelings.

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William and Audrey on location for Paris When It Sizzles. Image source IMDb. 

There is still that genuine warmth and magic between Audrey and William on screen here, and they both look like they are enjoying the opportunity to have lots of fun in the scenes such as the vampire at the grotto, and the scene when they order room service (I love the way Audrey makes that order and the look on William’s face when he hears her place the order.)  🙂

I love them the most in all the scenes in this where they kiss, those kisses are so tender and passionate. I also love them in the scene where they are playing the rich couple who both mention having had giraffes as children, the way they act in that and deliver the lines cracks me up every time I watch that film.

Perfect timing, natural chemistry and genuine affection for each other help these two become a perfect screen team. I was so disappointed when I first found out that they only made two films, I was so looking forward to seeing them in more films. Oh well, at least their screen magic can be enjoyed over and over again in these two films.

Well those are just a few of the reasons why I love these two so much. If you have never seen William and Audrey act together, I suggest that you take a look at the films I mentioned and watch them together for yourselves. I hope you like this screen duo as much as I do. Happy viewing.  🙂 

Any other fans of William and Audrey? Please leave your comments below.

Unsung Classics 1: Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

Paris When It Sizzles is a hidden gem of a film. This remake of the 1952 French film Holiday For Henrietta is directed by Richard Quine, has a screenplay by Quine and Richard Axelrod and music by Nelson Riddle.There are cameos by Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra(his voice),Tony Curtis and Noel Coward.

It astonishes me how many classic film fans have either never seen this one, or they know it but never discuss it. I consider this to be one of the best and funniest films out there about the film making process. The film not only focuses upon the screenwriting process, but it also pokes fun at method acting,  film cliches, and also shows just how quickly plot ideas can change and how such ideas even come to be in the first place.

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Richard and Gabrielle share an intimate moment.

The film is also a very clever mix of genres. At one point it is a thriller, then a romance, whilst another scene finds us firmly in horror territory. The film also features an hysterical turn from Tony Curtis, as a young method actor featuring in several of the film’s possible script scenarios. Tony looks like he’s having so much fun sending up the method style. The film is basically one big in joke about the process of making films, and about the people who work in this industry behind and in front of the camera. Featuring some gorgeous photography in and around Paris, lots of humour and romance, and William Holden and Audrey Hepburn having a great deal of fun, what’s not to like?

Richard Benson (William Holden)is a cynical Hollywood screenwriter, a ladies man, who loves a drink or two, and is living in a Paris apartment. Hired months ago to write a new screenplay, he has in fact been spending his time having fun and hasn’t written a word! With his deadline fast approaching, he hires secretary Gabrielle(Audrey Hepburn)to help him begin and finish on time. As Richard comes up with possible script scenarios we actually see his ideas as film scenes on screen, featuring William and Audrey playing the various main characters. While all this is going on, Richard is finding himself falling in love with Gabrielle, but does she share and return his feelings? 

William has a ball playing various fictional adventurous leading men, and even a charming vampire! Audrey shows a real gift for comedy as the secretary caught up in imagination, and as the various fictional leading ladies of Richard’s scenarios.

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Audrey and William. Image source IMDb.

This was the second time Audrey and William had worked together on screen, the first being in Sabrina(1954). During the making of Sabrina the pair fell in love, but Audrey ended their relationship because William had had a vasectomy and Audrey desperately wanted children. It was difficult for William to make Paris When It Sizzles, as he still had feelings for Audrey, and at this time he was also drinking rather heavily. There are moments in this film when he looks at her and you can tell that it is not his character looking at her with longing, it is William himself looking at the woman he loves.

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William and Audrey on location. Image source IMDb.

It’s quite painful to watch them at times actually in this one because you feel William’s longing, and when you know what was going on behind the scenes your heart goes out to him. It must have been agony for him to have been so close to her and knowing he couldn’t have her. That agony and longing in a weird way actually works for the film. William’s character, Richard Benson, finds himself more and more attracted to his secretary, but he finds it difficult to pursue his feelings when they have work to do and he’s also not sure if she returns his feelings.

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The bath on a film set scene. Screenshot by me.

The vampire grotto sequence is one of my favourite scenes in the whole film, as a romantic afternoon lunch suddenly takes a turn into the realms of darkness the bizarre, as William’s charming playboy is revealed to be a vampire. It’s funny and ridiculous at the same time. I’d love to know where that beautiful waterfall/park they go into during this scene is located? It looks gorgeous. I also like the fountains featured in the final scene.I also love the scene in the film studio featuring Audrey as a sexy woman of the streets taking a bubble bath on an exotic set.

Great fun, and highly recommended to fans of Holden and Hepburn. This flick deserves to be better known. Spread the word, folks!

If you’re already a fan of this one, please share your thoughts on the film.