Saturday, June 20, 2009

The ultimate chick flick?

TCM's Essentials movie for this week is Random Harvest. A brief summary is that Ronald Colman plays a World War I veteran who's got shell shock and amnesia. Not knowing who he is, he falls in love with chorus girl Greer Garson, who turns him into an author. That is, until he hits his head while on his way to sell the rights to his book. At this point, Colman is suddnely able to remember everything that happened before the first time he got amnesia, but has amnesia about everything since, including his relationship with Garson. She, naturally, follows him to the ends of the earth to find out what's happened to him, and falls in love with him all over again. Or is it he falling in love with her again?

In either case, it's the sort of turgid melodrama that would fit right in on the Lifetime channel. They call such stuff "chick flicks", but I have to wonder whether even normal sensible women like this stuff.

That having been said, I wonder what the one biggest "chick flick" from the studio era would be. I've recommended The Great Lie before, and that would certainly be a good candidate. Another excellent choice might be Dark Victory, in which Bette Davis plays a terminally ill socialite who falls in love with her doctor, giving up what's left of her life in the city to live with him as he does his medical research in the middle of nowhere. It's the sort of material that makes me want to run from the room screaming, suppressing the urge to retch. Even Now, Voyager isn't this screwed up. At least there, we can all laugh at Bette Davis when she's having her nervous breakdown. I mean, look at those eyes about to bug out. And Now, Voyager is also greatly helped by having Claude Rains in the supporting role as Davis' soon-to-be psychiatrist. Sure, what happens after she gets out of the sanatorium is treacly, but the first half of the movie is pure comedy gold.

So what do you think is the "chickiest" chick flick?

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