Our friend over at The Hollywood Revue decided to host a blogathon honoring the 100th Anniversary of Paramount Studios. This is my entry to the blogathon. Better late than never, as they say -
"CALIFORNIA" is a song at the beginning of this movie, among whose lyrics are the words, "When the Lord finished this job he took a long look and stopped creating, said 'From now on I'd just be repeating myself!'". Who decided this needed to be in the movie or why, I don't know. If you didn't know any better you'd think Judy Garland was going to be here, but no. It really doesn't fit with the rest of the movie, but do I care? No. Every time I hear that song I get excited. 'Tis the harbinger of an hour and a half of some of the best things I've ever seen on the screen.
2. Scene Number One
The first scenes in movies are important. Maybe not as important to some people as they are to me, but tell me, how much more enjoyable is it to be interested from the get-go? Barbara Stanwyck gets pushed down a few stairs into the dust then looks up at the "decent women" of the town and says Thank you, thank you very much in a tone only that Stanwyck could. Then Barry Fitzgerald offers to take Stany with him to California, even though those same "decent women" tell him that he'll be traveling with "wickedness and mortal sin". And those ladies aren't the only ones who object, besides the other members of the wagon train, Ray Milland whom is leading the wagon train doesn't want her to come, but Stanwyck knocks him right over with a, "who are you afraid of? Me? or yourself?"#teamstanwyckforthewin
3. Barry Fitzgerald
I love Barry Fitzgerald in this movie. Idealist hick, that's what he is. I love the way that his character, Michael Fabian, takes both Stany and Ray Milland under his wing at different points. I love the peaceful strength and his dedication to his ideals. I love his wisdom and his steadfastness in the face of personal danger. Not to mention, look at him! He's adorable. Part of me, no, most of me wants to adopt him as my grandfather.
4. Ray and Barbara
Ray Milland is my favorite actor. Barbara Stanwyck is my favorite actress. Ray and Barbara star in California, and they fall in love. Just the best thing ever, period. Barbara Stanwyck sets the screen aflame all on her own, but when you add the chemistry between Ray Milland and her, it's like that fire that Mame started in Chicago. And when I say 'chemistry' I mean Chemistry, from the moment Lily Bishop (Barbara Stanwyck) first gazes at Johnny Trumbo (Ray Milland), to the end when Lily promises to be waiting for Johnny until he serves his time for deserting the Army. It's one of my very favorite romances if, actually, not the very favorite.
5. Edith Head
No list on any movie that Edith Head had anything to do with would be complete without mentioning her. Last time I joined a blogathon at The Hollywood Revue I wrote a whole post on Edith and Stanwyck, old time's sake is just another reason to put her on the list. Edith Head designed the women's costumes for California and some of Barbara Stanwyck's gowns especially are just gorgeous. I think this one, which happens to be from the first scene, is my favorite:
So there are just five of the many reasons I adore this Paramount flick. Oh, but did I forget to mention, IT'S BARBARA STANWYCK IN TECHNICOLOR [!!!!!!!!!!!!]. I would love this movie if that was the only good thing about it.
Until Later On~