Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #182: Character Names in the title

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is movies with a character name in the title, and I have just so happened to pick three movies with one-word titles that are all the name of the lead female character:

Lisa (1962). Dolores Hart plays Lisa, a survivor of Auschwitz who is now a refugee and looking for a way out of Europe. Her first attempt has her followed by a detective (Stephen Boyd) to England, where an unscrupulous man plans to sell her into sex slavery in South America. So the detective gets involved, with the trafficker winding up dead and the detective feeling he has to help Lisa get to Palestine (this is before it became Israel; there was that British blockade as you'll recall).

Julie (1956). Doris Day plays Julie, a stewardess who meets Lyle (Louis Jourdan), falls in love with him, and quits her job to marry him, only to find out he's insanely jealous. So she decides she's going to get out of the marriage and go back to being a stewardess. Of course Lyle stalks her onto one of her flights. Doris Day did have the chops to do more serious stuff, even if she didn't actually do it often.

Emma (1932). Marie Dressler plays Emma, the maid in a family who helped raise the four children of a wealthy inventor (Jean Hersholt). He's an aging widower, and decides he's going to marry Emma. The three eldest children (including Myrna Loy) all hate Emma for this; the fourth has only known Emma as a mother and is devoted to her. Melodramatic, but Dressler is great as always.


joel65913 said...

Everybody seems to be doing a theme within the theme this week which is great.

I thought Lisa was an interesting film without necessarily being that great. I think it was the first film I'd seen Dolores Hart in beside "Where the Boys Are" providing a glimpse of what she had to offer as an actress before her decision to take up the veil.

Julie is an overwrought hoot and a half with poor Doris on the very verge throughout the entire thing. It's good to the last drop but absurd in the extreme.

Marie Dressler is the whole reason to see Emma outside the young Myrna Loy but those older kids are so thoroughly rotten that I found it exhausting by the end.

I also did a theme within a theme, I guess you could say I double yours.

Mary, Mary (1963)-Struggling New York book publisher Bob McKellaway (Barry Nelson-who is fine but his role has Jack Lemmon’s name all over it) is getting ready to marry his socialite fiancĂ©e Tiffany (a knockout Diane McBain) as soon as his divorce from first wife Mary (Debbie Reynolds) comes though. However his accountant Oscar (a delightful Hiram Sherman) requests Mary come up from Philadelphia for the day to straighten out some tax issues before the decree becomes final. Once together Bob and Mary start to jab wittily at each other and before you know it their attraction starts to resurface aided by the attentions to Mary of movie star and prospective author Dirk Winsten (Michael Rennie) and an inconvenient snowstorm. Betrays its stage origins (the play ran for over 1500 performances) but is often clever and witty. Both Rennie and Nelson repeat their Broadway roles.

Rachel, Rachel (1968)-Rachel Cameron (Joanne Woodward) is a lonely middle-aged schoolteacher. Never married and still a virgin she lives a life of quiet desperation with her widowed mother over the funeral home left to them by her father. Over summer vacation she goes to a revival meeting with her best friend fellow teacher Calla (Estelle Parsons) during which she has an epiphany and begins to emerge from her shell taking her life in unexpected directions. Directed by Paul Newman as a vehicle for his wife this received four Oscar nominations including ones for Woodward, Parsons and Best Picture.

Corrina, Corrina (1994)-Widower Manny Singer (Ray Liotta) is frustrated in his search for a nanny for his young daughter who has withdrawn into herself since her mother’s death and stopped speaking. When Corrina Washington (Whoopi Goldberg) applies she is able to break through the child’s reserve and is hired. As time passes she and Manny discover an attraction and grow closer but all does not go smoothly.

And to show this is not strictly a female happenstance:

Buddy Buddy (1981)-Trabucco (Walter Matthau) a hitman on a job to rub out a Mob informant before he testifies is waylaid by Victor Clooney (Jack Lemmon), the suicidal guy in the hotel room next door. Once he talks him off the ledge he plans to jump from their lives become intertwined and nothing goes as planned. Billy Wilder’s final film as director would seem to have everything needed to succeed, a reteaming of Lemmon and Matthau, a quality supporting cast and the great man himself behind the camera but even he admitted that it was more or less a miss.

Daniel said...

Damn, seeing you pick Julie makes me mad at myself for not even thinking of Julia!

I've not seen any of these, but I love Marie Dressler, so Emma is going at the top of my list.

Wendell Ottley said...

Man, I'm way out of the loop, here. I've not seen any of these and have only heard of Julie.

Birgit said...

I haven’t seen any of these but would love to especially the Doris Day film.