Sunday, April 27, 2008

And our final destination. . .

We made it to Jasper where the warmest day of our two week trip came on the day we had to go home. But it was well worth the drive and the weather; it was a wonderful and busy library show. Thanks to everyone who came out to our Dewey Diva presentations and to our booths.
Back home now for one day before heading off to sales conference. After talking about books non-stop for two weeks, my mind has temporarily gone to mush, so today it's DVD recommendations as apart from a long afternoon nap, I've been prone on my sofa in front of the television set. When I'm tired and drained, I need something fun and silly but also really clever in its way. Enter a young Maurice Chevalier.

Criterion has recently released a wonderful collection of four Ernst Lubitsch musicals from the late 1920s and early 1930s. These were made before the "moral" censorship codes came to Hollywood and the visual and verbal sexual puns come fast and furious and are fairly hilarious. I've now seen two of them - Love Parade in which Chevalier's military attache character woos and weds the queen of "Sylvania" played by Jeanette Macdonald, only to find that a prince consort has very little power over his wife. In The Smiling Lieutenant, Chevalier plays a Viennese soldier (with a strong French accent) who winks and laughs at his violin-playing girlfriend (a beautiful Claudette Colbert) just as the king and princess of "Flausenthurm" pass by in a carriage (Flausen means silly ideas in German). The princess (played by Miriam Hopkins) believes Chevalier was laughing at her and it causes a bit of a diplomatic incident, made worse when she falls in love with him too. Colbert realizing that the girl, "who starts with breakfast never makes it to dinner" reluctantly gives up Chevalier to the princess but not before giving her make-over tips in the funny number "Jazz up your Lingerie". Honestly, if you are a fan of musicals you really need to buy or rent this set.

Then I turned to an old favourite, but just as goofy. Carefree is one of the ten movies Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made together, all of which have crazy, implausible plots, but really who cares? In this one, Astaire is a psychoanalyst who is trying to help his friend's fiancee (played by Rogers) to make a commitment to marriage. Rogers ends up dreaming about Astaire and falls in love with him instead and after many hypnosis crises, all ends happily. This movie has one of the best dance numbers ever as Astaire and Rogers bounce off furniture and twirl all around a clubhouse to "The Yam". Ah, if all of life's problems could be solved just as easily by dancing to songs about vegetables.

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