|Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.|
19. The Bishop’s Wife – When I first saw this film on TV in the 1970s, it was not the annual holiday favorite that it is today. Its stature has grown exponentially since then and it’s typically listed among the best films of all three of its stars: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. I’ll omit the plot summary, since I figure most readers have seen it. Aside from its magical moments (e.g., the angel Dudley’s visit with the professor, the ice skating scene, etc.), what I admire most about The Bishop’s Wife is Grant’s performance. For once, despite his looks and charm, he doesn’t get the girl. Furthermore, Dudley becomes jealous and, in one scene, perhaps a little petty. In the hands of a less gifted actor, this often human-like angel could have posed a problem. But Grant provides all the required character shading and still keeps Dudley likable. That was one of his greatest gifts as a performer.
|The brothers (well, six of them) seek brides.|
|Love this closing shot!|
|Stewart Granger reveals his identity.|
14. Pollyanna – Although I saw Pollyanna several times as a kid, I never fully appreciated it until I watched it as an adult. The well-known story has a young orphaned girl—an optimist if there ever was one—coming to live with her wealthy, spinster aunt circa 1913. Pollyanna pretty much shakes up the whole town, bringing lonely people together and reminding everyone that there are unexpected joys to be found in the most unlikely places. It’s a charming, uplifting tale, surprisingly devoid of schmaltz. My favorite scene is a simple one: When the town’s fire-and-brimstone pastor (Karl Malden) fears that he’s losing touch with his congregation, Pollyanna (Hayley) suggests that he focus on the joys of the Bible. Mills is delightful and there are many standouts in the supporting cast, particularly Agnes Moorehead, Adolphe Menjou, and Malden. The Walt Disney team lovingly creates a slice of Americana with a storybook town of quaint houses, white picket fences, and home-made pies. If you haven’t seen it since you were young, I heartily recommend you check it out again.
|An impressive creature of horror.|
|Jeff spies on his neighbors.|
|Alastair Sim as |
Next month, this series finally comes to an end with a Top Ten featuring two Hitch pics, two musicals, one sci fi, a very long Western, and Orson Bean explaining about “irresistible impulse.”