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Film

Lonely Hearts Club Video Pick: Summer Escape

Posted by Trixie / April 19, 2007

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Admittedly, as of Wednesday it seems that prodigal Spring has finally made a weak entrance—crawling in with its tail between its legs. And though it cheers me all the same, it’s come a bit late for me to put my trust in the weather that easily. Thus, I am inclined to hole up this weekend with some videos, and not brave an actual trip outside to the theatres. For I did that just this last Sunday, thinking that venturing out to the movies mid-April might be a nice way to get some much-needed fresh air. Instead, as we all know, Winter kicked up one more miserable slush-spewing tantrum before giving up the ghost.

As I returned home that night, soaked through hair-to-foot, brutally chilled and praying for traction each of the countless times that the 80 bus, struggling to get up Parc, spun its wheels, I vowed that I’d stay in next week-end, no matter how amenable the weather—that little tease!—promised to be.

And so I’d say escapist fare is what’s called for—exotic locales, warm climes, beautiful people, and a strong dose of nostalgia. Contemporary flicks that offer escape too often grind me back into reality with general stupidity and modern day sentimentality. I prefer my sentimental fix sugar-coated with the sensibility of another time—classic Hollywood is where it's at. So, let’s hit an Italian Villa, circa 1961, all in glorious Technicolor, for a romantic comedy quite forgettably titled Come September—it deserves a kickier name to suit its sun-dappled, cross-generational hi-jinx. Plus, it’s a happy eternal summer type movie, not a bittersweet summer-always-ends one.

This film marks an early point before American cinema went arty and gritty and the studios embarrassed themselves with ever more sprawling, cheesy and unruly ensemble comedies that became progressively out-of-touch. But the heyday of the sophisticated but daffy, naughty but sublimated romantic comedy exemplified by the Rock Hudson-Doris Day cycle is on show here, again with Rock, but this time paired with the sultry Gina Lollobrigida.

Cineastes might claim that Rock is at best a second-rate Cary Grant, and Gina the poor man’s Sophia Loren. But on both counts, that really ain’t half bad, and both are far better than the stars served up today. Rock and Gina are squaring off with teeny-boppers Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee: Gina is sympathetic to the kids’ just-wanna-have-fun ethos; but Rock, whose villa—in a classic screwball over-complicated set-up—has been infiltrated by tourists, feels responsible as a landowning gentleman to protect the young lasses from their scheming horny male counterparts.

But really the film is a deft and playful look at the inevitable passing of the baton: from the suave, uncomplicated 1950s masculinity of Rock Hudson to the smarmy, wiry wise-ass Darin; from Lollobrigida’s self-possessed, full-blown womanliness to Dee’s perky, self-doubting gamine. With every attempt of Bobby Darin to challenge or thwart Rock Hudson, the latter’s superiority is asserted; even Darin’s rebellious good-time boy must grudgingly admit that Rock can’t be beat. But the Teen Beat is the new beat, and the inimitable charms of the manly man and womanly woman are being set aside, history will tell us, for a decidedly less assured, less urbane, less adult zeitgeist (beach party movies, anyone?). Come September knows it, and instead of bemoaning the transition, the film works as a tribute to what is to come, and what will always stand as the better, if outmoded, model.

Discussion

8 Comments

FX / April 20, 2007 at 10:08 am
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"And though it cheers me all the same, it’s come a bit late for me to put my trust in the weather that easily." Yes. I know exactly how you feel. Excellent film suggestion, by the way.
WX / July 18, 2007 at 11:09 pm
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The article is nice, however, I strongly disagree with the reference to Gina being "the poor man's Sophia Loren". Gina was already an international sensation before Sophia was even on the map as an actress and she was the first Italian star to greatly impact American society. In many ways, Sophia is "the poor man's Gina Lollobrigida".
Afiq / February 5, 2015 at 07:09 am
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Emiley Irby - Hey Jeremy, These photos are all so buetaiful we knew your work would turn out great. We can't wait to see the rest of the photographs from our wedding. Thanks for being so fun and easy to work with. We appreciate all your hard work.
golu dolls / March 14, 2019 at 12:41 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 14, 2019 at 12:41 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 14, 2019 at 12:41 am
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nice post
Herbal Powder / March 14, 2019 at 12:42 am
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nice post

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