Friday, September 17, 2010

For the Weekend: What's Your Mood?

The weather is starting to cool down out, and the days are getting shorter and shorter. Time to start bundling up on the couch with a nice cup of hot tea, right?! …Or maybe that’s just me and my cold talking. Oh well…whatever your state might be this weekend, here are some great suggestions for you to enjoy.

Are you in the mood for a good sci-fi flick? If so, check out “Soylent Green” (1973) on TCM this Saturday at 4pm EST. It stars Charlton Heston as a New York cop in 2022, when the world is devastatingly overpopulated and the greenhouse effect has killed all edible food on the planet. The entire population must live on water rations and a food supplement known as Soylent Green. The film costars Leigh Taylor-Young, Joseph Cotton, and the great Edward G. Robinson in his last performance. (He died of cancer only 12 days after completing “Soylent Green.”) Based on the 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison, the film’s ending is one of the most iconic in Hollywood history. The last line Heston speaks is actually among AFI’s Top 100 Movie Quotes. If you don’t know it, be sure to watch this weekend and find out.

Maybe sci-fi is not your style, and you want something a little more lighthearted. How about “Gigi” (1958)? The famous musical stars Leslie Caron as the title character, Maurice Chevalier, and Louis Jordan, in a tale about a young French girl being trained to be a courtesan. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, written by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe, and produced by Arthur Freed, this is considered the last of MGM’s great musicals, mainly because it is the last of the well-known Freed production team to be a box-office hit. “Gigi” received 9 Oscars nominations and won all of them, including Best Picture. Based on the 1944 book by Colette, it is actually not the same as the 1952 Broadway play that made then-unknown Audrey Hepburn a star. That production was not a musical, but Freed felt they need to lighten the story up for American moviegoers, so Lerner and Loewe were brought in. Originally, Freed also wanted Hepburn to star, but by 1958, she was a busy actress and had to turn it down. You can catch this musical gem at 8p EST Saturday evening on TCM (with more Maurice Chevalier following).

But if neither sci-fi nor musicals is your forte this weekend, how about a good romantic drama? “Mogambo” (1953) starring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Grace Kelly is on TCM Sunday eve at 6pm EST. The film (a remake of “Red Dust” (1932) which also starred Gable) tells the story of an African game hunter (for zoos and such) who gets involved with two women - Gardner who is stranded in Africa by her friend, and Kelly, a married woman on a gorilla documentary trip with her husband. During this production, Gable and Kelly had an affair that lasted through Kelly filming “The Country Girl” (1954) (for which she won an Oscar). Kelly wasn’t even director John Ford’s first choice for the role. He instead wanted Gene Tierney, but she turned it down due to emotional problems at the time. Ford didn’t even want Gardner (he wanted Maureen O’Hara), but MGM insisted on Gardner. Ford in turn made his disapproval of Gardner known throughout the production, treating her very badly, so much so that one day Gable walked off the set in protest. It’s a great drama, both onscreen and off.

So whatever your mood may be, I hope these suggestions satisfy your taste buds. And if you have a cold too, this is a great way to rest up and heal. Have a great time, everyone! Be back Monday with another favorite.

(Post-tidbit: The producers of “Soylent Green” decided to change the title from the book’s title Make Room! Make Room! thinking that the public might get it confused with Danny Thomas’ show “Make Room for Daddy.”)


  1. You site came up on a Google Alert to which I subscribe because I am the webmaster for Maureen O'Hara's official website "Maureen O'Hara Magazine" as well as her archivist. Have known Maureen for about 16 years. You are absolutely right about Ford wanting her for "Magambo." Duke Wayne also wanted her initially for "Rooster Cogburn" but conflicting scheduled made that impossible. Few people know that Maureen was originally cast in the musical "The King and I" by Darryl Zanuck. She was a perfect pick because she also had a beautiful, trained soprano voice. Unfortunately Richard Rodgers didn't care. He insisted that "No pirate queen is going to play my Anna" - and that was the end of that.

  2. Dear Junebug101,

    Thanks so much for the trivia!! I love Maureen, and have since I was little. ("Spanish Main" made me fall in love with pirates too. haha!) She would have been great in the "King and I". Too bad that didn't pan out.

    Be sure to check out my post on Maureen and "The Parent Trap" too. :)