Monday, October 03, 2011

"If I could find my head, I'd go get it examined."

Perhaps Stanley Donen's best known film, amongst a cavalcade of good ones, is Singin' in the Rain (1952), which is not only a musical that even musical-haters might enjoy, it's also a fantastic recreation of the effect that the introduction of sound had on motion pictures.  I was introduced to Donen by Saturn 3 ( 1980), which, despite a promising cast, director, a script by British novelist Martin Amis, and one of the craziest robot designs of all time, ends up being a dull throwback to cheapie 50/60's scifi movies (it's too competent to contend with the abysmally trashy fun of a Robot Monster (1953)).  But my favorite Donen vehicles, outside of the Cook & Moore spectacular Bedazzled (1967), are Donen's two Hitchock knock-offs, Charade (1963) and Arabesque (1966).  While Hitch still produced a few more films during this time, Hollywood seemed to be looking for someone to fill the suspenseful void.  Many tried, and while some are good campy fun, only Donen's really hold up and stand on their own from Hitch's mold.

The above quickie was inspired by a lobby card of Sophia Loren from Arabesque.  She's quite the stunner and far more the femme fatale foil for Gregory Peck, as compared to the chemistry of Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in Charade.

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