Sunday, June 28, 2009

An odd Essentials Jr. choice

A few weeks back I mentioned the return of the TCM summer series Essentials Jr., looking at classic movies for kids and their families, and pointing out that TCM selected a few interesting choices this summer. One of those "interesting" choices is The Philadelphia Story.

I'm not so sure if I'd have picked it. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn were together in the much more child-appropriate Bringing Up Baby, but that was an Essentials Jr. selection in a previous year. Both movies deal with somebody trying to break up another person's impending marriage, which isn't exactly the most child-friendly topic out there. But Bringing Up Baby does it with the help of a wild leopard, and animal actors are always good in movies for kids. The humor is also much closer to slapstick which, again, is better suited to the young ones. As for The Philadelphia Story, it's got domestic violence, drunkenness, a philandering father, and a child who recognizes that the movie is full of "innundo". I suppose Virginia Weidler might be the hook for introducing the movie to girls at least, but she did other more family-friendly stuff.

If I wanted to schedule a movie with the same themes as Bringing Up Baby, I think I might select The Awful Truth. Here, Cary Grant and Irene Dunne each try to break up the other's impending marriage, but it's done with somewhat better intentions -- the two got divorced too hastily, and each comes to realize they shouldn't have gotten divorced, and wants to do something to bring the original marriage back together. Even so, I'm not sure just how good a movie it is for kids.

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