Saturday, March 27, 2010

Before I was a movie buff

Many years ago, when I was just a snotty know-it-all teenager, there was a Final Jeopardy! clue, and I remember it well. In a category on the movies, the clue read something like, "Using only two letters of the alphabet, it's the Best Picture Oscar winner with the shortest title". I knew the correct response right away, and as the contestants started revealing their (wrong) guesses, I was even more convinced of the rightness of my response. Well, then, imagine my surprise when, after all three contestants were wrong, Alex Trebek revealed the correct question: "What is Gigi?"

I was shocked, since I was so sure the correct question was, "What is 1,000,000 BC?" OK, you can all stop laughing now. I was young, and this was well before TCM came along, and even before all that many movies has made it to VHS, the DVD still being many years away. I had distinctly recalled seeing Raquel Welch running around the screen wearing next to nothing, and dammit, that by itself should be enough for an Oscar! This was before I realized that there had been an earlier version made. Nor did I remember at the time that the Welch version had actually been titled One Million Years BC, written out in letters and using an extra word. (The original doesn't include "Years" in the title, but is still written out in words.)

At any rate, I note this because Gigi is showing up tonight at 8:00 PM ET as TCM's Essential for the week, kicking off a night of Louis Jourdan movies. I have to admit that Gigi exemplifies much of what I dislike about musicals. The plot is trite, the music is shoehorned in, and frankly, the Maurice Chevalier character comes across as a pervert. Never mind Leslie Caron fondling Louis Jourdan's... cigars. The old Sigmund Freud quote about cigars may or may not apply here. Still, I realize there are a lot of people out there who do like musicals, and they will probably enjoy Gigi.

As for me, I'll be staying up to watch the following movie, Letter From an Unknown Woman, as it's one I haven't seen before. That will be followed at midnight by Julie, a movie that I have recommended before, and from which the photo at left is taken. When I blogged about it two years ago (has it been that long?), Julie had not yet been released to DVD, and it still hasn't. So the infrequent TCM showing is your chance to catch it.

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