Lucky Partners

I’d never seen a Ronald Colman film, though I’d heard the name. I ran across this title and thought I’d get the DVD from the library. (Note: the DVD has much better quality than the blurry trailer above.) Starring Ginger Rogers and Ronald Colman, Lucky Partners is a romantic comedy filled with style and wit.

Walking down the street one day, David Grant (Colman) wishes Jean (Rogers), a pretty passerby, “Good luck.” She stops and asks him why the “Good luck” and he smiles and they chat about her practical engineer fiancé before she goes her merry way.

When she arrives at her destination to drop off an order of books, she lucks into a free $300 (in 1940’s value) dress. Hmm, meeting that dapper fellow was lucky. Jean decides to take advantage of the luck and buys an Irish Sweepstakes ticket and convinces David to pay her half. That should increase their luck.

Lucky_Partners_film_posterDavid places a condition on his going in on the ticket. If they win, which is highly unlikely, Jean will accompany David on a fabulous trip prior to her marriage. She’s unsure. What will people think of an unmarried woman traveling with an unmarried man? David sees it as an experiment. When Fred, the fiancé turns up, his assumptions and attitudes, compel Jean to go along. Besides, it’s unlikely the ticket will win, so there’s no real risk, right?

Well, next the ticket does win the first round of the sweepstakes. Now Jean and David need to decide whether to cash in for $12,000 or to hold and wait to see if they can win the full $150,000. There’s some back and forth and mainly dapper David just aggravates Jean, but then so does flat-footed Fred. In the end they decide to risk it all and Fred holds on to the tickets.

But rather than do as he was told, Fred sold Jean’s half of the ticket, so after they lose the sweepstakes, Fred proudly presents Jean with her $6000. He’s shocked that his independent-minded fiancée is livid that Fred went behind her back. Jean grabs her money and storms across the way to give David the money. He then insist that they go on a pared down version of the whirlwind experimental trip. Now Jean’s nervous, but a deals’ a deal.

Based on a film by Sacha Guitry (the French writer/actor who made films like The Pearls of the Crown  or Le PoisonLucky Partners delights with a zany situation that dances around feminine virtue, trust, and whether one should marry a safe guy or the dashing artist with the mysterious aura. As is true of so many

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The Jolliest Christmas Party

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Hosted by my friend Luzanne and her husband, last night’s Christmas party might have been the best Christmas party I’ve ever been to. It’s certainly the jolly-est (jolly-est? most jolly?) I brought my friend Sally as my driver.

It was so well planned and so much fun. First at 4:30 we were to go to this pizza place, which was decked out for Christmas with lots of lights, fake snow, etc. They had the party room and lots of people sported cheesy Christmas garb. I’m glad I wore a Christmas sweater and I was wrong not to have worn Christmas earrings. It would not have been too much (as I thought).

They had a buffet of pizzas and salads at each end of the room. Waiters served pitchers of whatever drinks people wanted. Some people got wine, which I didn’t notice till late. Each setting had a stocking with your name on a label and some candy inside.

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 1.12.21 PMAt 5:30 the candy buffet was set out. They had all these vintage candies — chocolate cigarettes, Ice Cubes, Good ‘n’ Plenty, and on and on. It was such a trip down memory lane. You were supposed to fill up your stocking with whatever candy. We also all got jingle bells and these awesome cheap-o surprise glasses.

At 6 pm we walked 2 blocks to the Music Box Theater. They had bought a block of tickets. First the organist played Christmas songs as the screen showed a nostalgic slide show of Christmas in Chicago photos from the historical society. Then the sing-a-long started and was led by four carolers. Time to use those jingle bells!

Then I think they showed the old time cartoon Suzy Snowflake. Click here to see it.

Santa appeared and led some more singing including a jingle the organist had written. The carolers reappeared and we sang some more songs.

Then they showed “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney. The movie has just the right amount of corniness, elegance (the clothes, the sophistication of going to night clubs), heart and holiday feel. When there was a song, the audience sang. When something funny happened or someone kissed everyone rang their jingle bells. People would call out with witty retorts and everyone hissed when the housekeeper did anything sneaky.

All in all it was such a joyful party. So well timed. So well planned. Luzanne sent out emails, twice, with updated parking lot info. The walk between the two venues was manageable.

Sally asked if she could come next year when we were leaving. Of course!

I’d love to go back with my nieces, nephews and family to the movie again or to see “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which is also playing till Dec. 24th. I think you should go to the movie. The pizza place is a good choice for dinner and Candyality where I bet Luzanne got the candy is just about three doors up from the Music Box.

For a few other Jolly posts:

 

Millenium Actress

I learned about this amazing animated film from Every Frame a Picture (below). Created by Satoshi Kon, Millennium Actress is a unique, dreamy film that tells the story of Chiyoko, an old woman who looks back on her life when a documentary filmmaker, Tachibara, finally convinces her to agree to being interviewed. Tachibara, who was always sweet on Chiyoko, presents Chiyoko with a long lost key, which like Marcel in In Search of Lost Time opens up a storehouse of memories. Then the story goes back in time in an incredibly imaginative way mixing flashbacks, dreams and daydreams to show why Chiyoko went against her mother to become an actress during WWII.

The story skips back in time to various times in Chiyoko’s life and further goes back to various periods in history which her films were set in. There are a few political messages, which like Kurosawa’s No Regrets for our Youth, criticise how Japan imprisoned those who disagreed with the war. Because Kon’s techniques are so innovative in how they harken back to the shape-shifting that’s a frequent feature of Japanese folktales (but you don’t need to know that to enjoy the film), the film constantly surprised and delighted me. Throughout the film, the current day filmmakers were present in the past and that technique was particularly intriguing and innovative — at least to me, a novice in the anime world.


This video by Tony Zhou is incredible and made me want to see Millennium Actress.