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Monday, July 2, 2012

Fourth of July Film Festival

The Fourth of July...  Hollywood style!
As you know, we are big film fans here at Dapper and Dreamy.  Who doesn't love to pick a day's worth of movies centering on a particular holiday or theme?  Perhaps is 1950's melodramas a la Douglas Sirk, Cary Grant films or, perfect for the Fourth of July, a series of patriotic films to complement the day.

Our Independence Day film assortment will include, Wilson, State of the Union and Yankee Doodle Dandy.  I think I've written about them in some detail before, but here's a little overview...

Wilson tells the story of President Woodrow Wilson and his rise to the White House.  I am not entirely clear about the historical accuracy, but it's such a lovely movie to look at.  The story is also compelling - rather simple family man becomes president, faces personal tragedy, overcomes said tragedy and, well, is faced with yet another tragedy.  Really, it's not as depressing as it sounds!  Woodrow Wilson faced the death of his wife, Ellen, and accomplished Georgia artist committed to bettering the lives of the impoverished minorities of the capitol city.  Although it's not explored in the film, Wilson was something of a ladies man and couldn't have functioned long without a wife and partner beside him.  Fortunately, Edith Bolling Galt, a Washington widow, was happy to rescue the lonely president.  Sadly, the pressure of World War One and his campaign for the League of Nations used the very last of Wilson's energies and leading to the stroke that would make him a virtual invalid in his last years in the White House.  It is during this time that the second Mrs. Wilson is said to have assumed the role of the executive to some degree.

Woodrow Wilson

Aside from the historical interest, Wilson is, as I said, lovely to look at.  The vintage White House interiors are fascinating, the colors in the film vibrant and the atmosphere perfect for the period.  I highly recommend this as a must watch, at least once.



State of the Union is one of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn's better films.  I like almost all of them, but I particularly enjoy this one.  First, Spence and Kate are as believable as ever playing a married couple facing some rather challenging times.  The main challenge comes in the form of Angela Lansbury who plays a hard-driving and cynical newspaper baroness who can insure Tracy wins the White House.  The problem is that, in order to reach the presidency, Spencer Tracy must compromise the very ideals that make him so attractive a candidate.  Pulled on one side by the party machine and on the other by Kate and his conscience, Spence has to fight hard to come back from the edge.  Will he forgo a surefire nomination or return to his roots?  All I'll say is that Tracy gives one of his best on screen speeches, making you wish desperately that you could find someone just like this to run for president.

Finally, Yankee Doodle Dandy really goes without saying.  If you haven't cued this up on the Fourth, well, I just don't know what you've been doing.  Rather than tell you about it, here's the trailer...  I dare you NOT to feel at least a little patriotic with James Cagney dancing and singing across the screen!


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