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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Movie Review: "Julia Misbehaves" (1948)

Hello folks!

Before I get started with the very first SMR of 2012 (since I skipped it last week on account of New Year's Day), I have two notes I'd like to quickly mention:
  1. The page for my 250 films in 2012 meme is now up! I've replaced my "What's my Line? Wednesdays" widget for a button for this page, so just take a peek into the tab bar. I encourage you to go over and there take to see what I'm watching. So far I've seen three films this year. Here's to meeting my goal!
  2. Film Classics is hosting a poll for the best article of 2012. It includes the four articles that won the four different contests held at Film Classics last year - two by Kevyn at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World, one by Natalie, and one by me :) The poll closes the eighteenth of this month. So be sure and go and vote for your favorite article. And as usual, please read them all! :)
Okay, that's it. Now onto the review. It feels so long since I did a SMR that wasn't a Christmas movie, lol. :)


The poster: Greer lounging in a martini glass showing off her Garson gams... surrounded by bubbles... and the tagline "Greer Garson misbehaves - Walter Pidgeon loves it!" It's just the best poster I've seen in a while, is all.

The plot:
English dancehall actress Julia Packett hasn't seen her daughter since Susan was a few months old, having given her up to be raised by her respectable and wealthy father William (whom Julia never divorced.) When she gets an invitation to her daughter's wedding, she "borrows" some money from a male friend and heads off to the south of France for the nuptials. While there she manages to establish a mother-daughter relationship, get another man to provide her with a lot of money, provoke her mother-in-law's ire, string along a potential husband and his mother, and rekindle the spark in William, all within a day or two. [from IMdb]

The starring players:
  • Greer Garson as Julia Packett
  • Walter Pidgeon as William Packett
  • Elizabeth Taylor as Susan Packett
  • Peter Lawford as Ritchie Lorgan
  • Cesar Romero as Fred Ghenoccio  
The verdict:

You all may know that I have been wanting to see Julia Misbehaves (1948) for forever. Okay, actually, since early November - which is when my obsession with Greer began - but I'm really quite an impatient person. Anyway, this movie was really appealing to me because Greer and screwball comedy, well, honestly, how could you turn something like that down? And this has such a spectacular cast. Besides Greer, you've got Walter and Elizabeth (another one of my favorite actresses), Peter and Cesar... yeah, it's hard to not want to watch this movie. Plus I heard a lot of good things about it.

Well, it did not disappoint. Oh my gosh, I loved it! It definitely wasn't perfect and I do think that the plot was lacking in places. But considering that it's a screwball comedy I'm willing to set that aside. The very first reason to love this film, first and foremost, is Greer. Greer everything. <3

Oh my goodness, Julia Packett. Instantly one of my new favorite characters. From the first time we see her scrubbing away in her tub you just love her! And if that wasn't good enough, Greer SINGS AGAIN. Like she did in Random Harvest (1941)! Yes, I still think "My Bonny Daisy" tops all for me, but Julia's song about joining the navy is still pretty awesome in its own right. Literally, every time Greer sings I swoon a bit. I love her singing voice, I just love how when she pushes the notes a little too high her voice cracks a tiny bit, it's actually quite appealing to me (but then again, I'm a total Greer fangirl).

And then if that wasn't enough, Greer also does some of the following in this film:
  • She wears a tablecloth like a boss and slow dances with Walter whilst doing so (in a cabin)
  • Takes a bubble bath
  • Flirts shamelessly with Cesar Romero
  • Meets a suitor at a casino and cons him into buying $600 worth of clothes for her (actually, for Elizabeth Taylor)
  • Has super sweet mother daughter moments with Elizabeth Taylor
  • Slaps a sea lion (not on film, but she talks about it) and teaches us about the superstitions of wearing the color cyclamen pink. 
  • Tries (but does not succeed) to fight against a disastrous rainstorm and lands up getting covered in mud
Yeah, this is not your typical Greer Garson film.

Which is one more reason to love it. So one pretty blatant reason itself is to watch this film because of Greer if for no other reason. 

Then there are the others in this film! Walter is his usual self, likable and Greer's perfect suitor, playing a rich Englishman (or was it French?) who albeit has an American accent, as Walter always does (or should I say Canadian if you want to be technical). Greer and Walter play a much more fun and exciting couple than they usually do. I mean, in all of their past pairings - the Minivers, the Curies, the Parkingtons - they played couples with perfect marriages (there actually is a line like that in The Miniver Story, Greer says something like, "We've had what most people have never experienced, a perfect marriage," or something like that). And we loved those perfect marriages because they were dependable. But it's also nice to see them in a change of pace as the fun Packetts. They made a perfect pair and you couldn't wait for them to get together again!

Elizabeth Taylor was crossing the bridge from child roles to adult ones and this film was one of those coming of age experiences for her. Her character is almost at times too naive, or childish, to be of marrying age but considering this was the 1940s it's believable enough. Anyway, I liked seeing her in this role and I just loved seeing her and Greer together. The two of them had some really sweet moments. She and Peter Lawford have wonderful moments in this, too. I did find it kind of weird when I found out later that Elizabeth was just sixteen when she did this, and Lawford twenty-five, and then, they kiss in this - which probably would be illegal... but hey, if you choose to ignore that they're a real sweet couple. 

The film has some wonderful, perfectly witty lines. Like: "Well I jolly well hauled off and slapped that old sea lion right in the snout!" and "I can't I'm in the nude -- well, get out of the nude!" There's even a moment in this in which Liz says, "He said my eyes looked like wet violets - isn't that ridiculous? Nobody's eyes look like wet violets," or something like that.

There are faults in this plot, but I still liked it. I don't want to say that you have to be a big fan of Greer to really enjoy this film, but it's true that if you are a big Greer fan you're likely to love this a lot. STILL. I encourage everyone to give this film a try, because it's really awesome. I mean, slapping sea lions and wearing tablecloths and Greer singing about the navy and discussing the superstitions of wearing cyclamen pink? And top it off with that cast?

The bottom line:
I really really liked this film. <3

Some photos GIFS:

[ALL GIFS VIA Bridie Quility]

Some trivia:

  • Greer Garson met her third husband, Buddy Fogelson, during the filming of this movie via the introduction of Peter Lawford. They would be married until Fogelson's death. 
  • Peter Lawford gave Elizabeth Taylor her first onscreen kiss in this film.

A movie tidbit:

Someone honestly needs to put this film on Youtube! I would... if I knew how... and had the time. :)

      Well, that's it for today! But I have one more question for my fellow bloggers, those that are more experienced than me in this blogging thing ;) Lately I've been getting quite a few annoying spam comments. These people use stupid template comments and then add a link to their website (usually some foreign website) somewhere in the comment. They always use different commenting handles. Despite word verification I keep getting this and I was wondering if anyone had a certain system or filter they use or whatever for avoiding these. I love getting comments so it's really annoying when I go to check out a comment and find some stupid advertisement for LED Glow Lights! (And I have, by the way). Anyway, thanks to all of you who comment for real. :) There will always be those other stupid trolls on the net, I suppose.


StanwyckFan said...

Rianna, I wish I would've watched this when I saw it on the YouTube...because, darn you, you've made me want to see it SO badly...really, this movie sounds amazing. :D Good review!

Rianna said...

Yeah, I think it was on Youtube but it was taken down! :( Anyways, if you ever come across it definitely see it. It's amazing and I think you'll like it! :) Thank you!

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