What else could we possibly feature as a Throwback Thursday film the week before Christmas other than the warm and wonderful Barbara Stanwyck classic, Christmas in Connecticut. Stanwyck stars with Dennis Morgan in a tale of mistaken identity. Stanwyck’s character Elizabeth Lane is a Martha Stewart type journalist who poses as a married suburban woman when in fact she is single and lives in NYC. An invite for a war hero (Morgan’s handsome Jefferson Jones) from the publisher to her Connecticut home turns into madcap bedlam as Morgan falls for the “married” woman. Not to be missed is the supporting performance from S.Z. Sakall as the wacky Uncle Felix who is the real mastermind behind Elizabeth’s skills. As with most films from the 1940’s, this concludes with a very happy ending. Christmas in Connecticut is a must-see for anyone interested in warm-hearted classic holiday films and an absolute must-see for those of us living in the nutmeg state.
Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)
Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, we present Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas) a 2005 French film about the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914, depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish and German soldiers. Joyeux Noel was written and directed by Christian Carion and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards. Daniel Brühl, Benno Fürmann, and Diane Kruger star in this heartwarming and truly international holiday event based on a
true WWI story.
In English, French, and German with English subtitles.
Looking for a new romantic comedy? Hard to believe Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is now old enough for this genre, but he is. Starring along with Zoe Kazan the pair have great on-screen chemistry in What If. From CBS Films,
WHAT IF is the story of medical school dropout Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), who’s been repeatedly burned by bad relationships. So while everyone around him, including his roommate Allan (Adam Driver) seems to be finding the perfect partner (Mackenzie Davis), Wallace decides to put his love life on hold. It is then that he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan) an animator who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall). Wallace and Chantry form an instant connection, striking up a close friendship. Still, there is no denying the chemistry between them, leading the pair to wonder, what if the love of your life is actually your best friend? The ensemble romantic comedy costars Megan Park and Oona Chaplin.
One of the first French films to address the issue of collaboration during the German occupation, Louis Malle’s brave and controversial Lacombe, Lucien traces a young peasant’s journey from potential Resistance member to Gestapo recruit. At once the story of a nation and one troubled boy, the film is a disquieting portrait of lost innocence and guilt.
Find Lacombe, Lucien on DVD in the library catalog.
In French with English subtitles.
Fans of Mad Men will want to catch the new indie The One I Love starring Elizabeth Moss who plays Peggy on the popular series. From Rotten Tomatoes,
The highly anticipated debut feature from acclaimed author Charlie McDowell, THE ONE I LOVE is an original tale that continues to showcase McDowell’s keen observations of human relationships with a distinct and comedic voice. THE ONE I LOVE, written by Justin Lader, was produced by Mel Eslyn and executive produced by Mark Duplass who stars opposite Elisabeth Moss. On the brink of separation, Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) escape to a beautiful vacation house for a weekend getaway in an attempt to save their marriage. What begins as a romantic and fun retreat soon becomes surreal, when an unexpected discovery forces the two to examine themselves, their relationship, and their future.
In honor of Netflix acquiring the entire Gilmore Girls television series this week, let’s take a look back at a classic mother-daughter film for Throwback Thursday. Douglas Sirk’s remake masterpiece, Imitation of Life captures the interracial friendship between two women and the awkward love/hate relationship between the women and their daughters. From IndieWire’s The Playlist,
Not enough handkerchiefs in the universe for this one—Douglas Sirk’s unbelievably manipulative and luscious “issues movie” is an extraordinary example of a film that so completely defines its genre (the “women’s picture”) that it practically transcends it. Of course Sirk has been thoroughly and rightly reclaimed in recent years as an absolute master of the form, (our Sirk Essentials can be found here) imbuing syrupy melodrama with honest depth of feeling, and clothing it all in such dazzling, skilful technicolor photography that his films become so much more than the maudlin, chocolate box confections they were initially dismissed as. And “Imitation of Life,” the director’s last Hollywood picture, is certainly one of his masterpieces, and fits our purposes here entirely, dealing with not one but two mother/daughter relationships as central themes, but using them to highlight gender and race issues in a remarkably fearless and, certainly at the time, provocative manner.
Find Sirk’s Imitation of Life in our library catalog.
For more diabolical mothers check out the original Carrie with Piper Laurie or John Waters’ Serial Mom with Kathleen Turner.
British four-part political thriller, starring Gabriel Byrne, Charles Dance and Gina McKee, and inspired by Chris Mullin’s novel A Very British Coup. It delves into the relationship between a democratically elected government, the military and big business.
The historical novel by Alexandre Dumas was adapted for the screen with this lavish French epic, winner of 5 Césars and a pair of awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Isabelle Adjani stars as Marguerite de Valois, better known as Margot, daughter of scheming Catholic power player Catherine de Medici (Virna Lisi). Margot is an heiress to the throne during the late 16th century reign of the neurotic, hypochondriac King Charles IX (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a time when Protestants and Catholics are vying for political control of France. Catherine decides to make an overture of good will by offering up Margot in marriage to prominent Protestant Huguenot Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), although she also schemes to bring about the notorious St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, when tens of thousands of Protestants are slaughtered. The marriage goes forward but Margot doesn’t love Henri and takes a lover, the soldier La Mole (Vincent Perez), also a Protestant from a well-to-do family. Murders by poisoning follow, as court intrigues multiply and Catherine’s villainous plotting to place her son Anjou (Pascal Greggory) on the throne threatens the lives of La Mole, Margot and Henri.
Find Queen Margot in our library’s catalog.
In French with English sub-titles.
Some people have bad days. Henry Altmann (Williams) has one every day. Always unhappy and angry at the world including everyone in it, Henry sits impatiently at the doctor’s office when he is finally seen by Dr. Sharon Gill (Kunis). Sharon, who is enduring her own bad day, reveals that Henry has a brain aneurysm. This news makes Henry even angrier, yelling at Sharon he demands to know how much time he has left. Faced with Henry’s anger and insults, Sharon abruptly tells him he has only 90 minutes. Shocked and reeling by this news, Henry storms out of the office leaving Sharon stunned by what she has just done in a lapse of judgment. As Sharon goes on a city-wide search, Henry struggles with his diagnosis, determined to make amends with everyone he has hurt in his life.
Ryan Murphy’s (Glee, American Horror Story) HBO mini-series The Normal Heart gets released on DVD today. The Normal Heart is based on a 1985 play by AIDS activist Larry Kramer. A bit of trivia – Kramer’s husband’s brother and sister in-law live here in Fairfield. The story revolves around the very earliest years of the AIDS crisis before there was even a language to discuss the disease. Starring Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks (the Kramer character), Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts – The Normal Heart acts as a history lesson for those too young to remember the horror of the 1980’s and early 90’s and a stark reminder to everyone else who lived through it. The film has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve got copies at both locations for you to check out.