Another Twelve Days of Maggie, Melanie and Mistletoe

Christmas is a time for the familiar. For turkey and Criterion Collection films as presents. It’s also a time for reflection and seasonal viewings of When Harry Met Sally… and One Fine Day. Two films I’ve watched over and over and over again.With some movies, repeat viewings actually increase my joy and appreciation. One Fine Day has become more like an old friend than a film, a familiar place to visit, always enjoying the company and the frazzled charm of its characters.The film was over half a century late to the screwball comedy party; and it was certainly too late to be a commercially successful one, as the dismal box office take at the time proved. Apparently, the end of World War Two spelled the end of screwball comedies and the disappearance of the Hawksian woman.From film to film, Hawks’s heroine may have changed her name, to suit her high-stakes game, but she’s always a ball of fire. Women were always better looking in Howard Hawks’ movies. He had a great eye for what’s timeless in beauty. Hawks’ girls have never gone out of style, not even for a moment.Michelle’s Melanie Parker recalls Lauren Bacall in her Hawksian hauteur, but the texture and style of her performance was all her own. Feminine and tough, glamorous and practical, just imagine her opposite Bogart or Cary Grant.Meg Ryan would also have fitted wonderfully well into Hollywood’s classic era with her sense of fun and camaraderie. The Ava Gardner to Pfeiffer’s Grace Kelly? It is easy to imagine Rio Bravo with Maggie in the role of Feathers, the free-spirited gambler who reduces John Wayne’s lawman to a gibbering idiot.If they’d been co-stars in a Ford or Hawks western Michelle would have been the saloon singer, fighting off ten men using only her wits, while Meg would roll her eyes, cut the cards and gulp down whiskey. Don’t lie, you can picture them too.I’ll no doubt spend Christmas Eve dreaming of 12 days of Maggie, Melanie and mistletoe. And, if by December 27, I feel like I’ve overdosed on the spirit of screwball, Billy Wilder and The Apartment will provide just the right amount of cynicism to prepare me for the horrors of Hogmanay… I’ll see you next year!

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27 Comments

Filed under Retrospective

27 responses to “Another Twelve Days of Maggie, Melanie and Mistletoe

  1. Great post 🙂 Christmas is indeed a great time for a lot of stuff and for me, two of them are Criterion and Shout Factory Blu-ray’s/DVD’s. I am sure you feel likewise 🙂 I love how you sum up One Fine Day as akin to “an old friend than a film” and interestingly enough, that is how I feel about another Michelle Pfeiffer film entitled Into the Night. I am starting to become obsessed with that as you are with One Fine Day and Addicted to Love 🙂 In the future, I might have to upgrade my star rating to four for that film 🙂 It is a shame that One Fine Day did flop and it is interesting when you say that the end of WWII ended the popularity of screwball comedies. Nevertheless, the Ealing Studios comedies became hugely popular. In this post, you even made an intentional or unintentional reference to Ball of Fire when you were talking about Hawks 🙂 As for Rio Bravo, I personally feel that either Michelle or Meg could have played Angie Dickinson’s part easily, but that is just me. “Dreaming of 12 days of Maggie, Melanie and mistletoe” is not a bad way at all to celebrate the Christmas season. If I were you though, I would also add Diana and Sally to the mix 🙂 Speaking of Billy Wilder, I just ordered the criterion edition of Ace in the Hole and for me, it stands out as Billy Wilder’s greatest achievement. The cynicism here makes that of Sunset Boulevard look like a Frank Capra film by comparison. Also, If one is supposed to drink wine while watching a screwball comedy, than one should drink a beer, whiskey or a whiskey sour when watching an Ealing Studios comedy 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂 P.S. I just posted a new blog entry on my website 🙂

    • The Criterion Collection release of Two-Lane Blacktop was one of my favourite Christmas presents ever back in 2007. Two discs, beautiful case, booklet and a copy of Wurlitzer’s screenplay, a dream come true.
      I very much doubt One Fine Day will ever make it into The Criterion Collection. Addicted to Love is a more likely candidate, although I wont hold my breath. It would be great if Flesh and Bone could get the Criterion treatment but I doubt that will happen either. Meg was great in that one.

      I hope you have a great Christmas. If you bring the whiskey, I’ll furnish the beer for my New Year’s Eve screwball party. Diana and Sally will mix the whisky sours. We’ll all watch a Wilder film, before Maggie and Melanie square off and go tumbling over the sweet trolley in true screwball style!
      But seriously, thank you for your support all year. I love your thoughtful comments. Hopefully we’ll find plenty more to talk about next year.

      Best Wishes,
      Paul

  2. Merry Christmas Paul. Have a great Christmas break. Keep up the Pfeiffer and Ryan excellence next year.

  3. rbtheuncritic

    Excellent holiday offering. I’m impressed how you combine a sense of history with appreciation of fine film. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Looking forward to more postings in 2018, and resolve to do better myself.

  4. Love you to join me, if you like all things Michael Caine, he was in Sweet Liberty with Michelle one of my faves of his comedies!
    https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/michael-caine-blogathon/

  5. See you next year Paul and enjoy The Apartment. Merry Christmas!

  6. I do like the split screen you have displayed here as it really does capture the same classy elegance these ladies can fit into and I agree that Howard Hawks sure knew the right ladies to pick. His movies are always a festive cheer in my eyes as well, from the quirky dialogues in His Girl Friday, to Bringing up Baby. The elegance and angelic seductiveness brings about a class that only a handful could display into the modern world of which Meg and Michelle are a shining example. Least not forgetting the sheer brilliance of The Apartment which I will be re watching too.

    I hope you have a splendid Christmas with stockings filled with romance. It’s been a wonderful year of knowing you Paul.

    Sincerely Sonea

    • Dear Sonea, your comments are always as charming as the classic films we hold so dear, thank you for your friendship over the year. I am glad you liked “the split screen” captures in this post. It’s just for fun. I often dream of Meg and Michelle starring alongside the legends of the past, under the direction of Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder. Those pictures are as close as I’ll ever come, so if only one other person enjoys them I’m happy.
      Have a fabulous Christmas, I wish you good health and happiness in 2018!

  7. Ahh, you’ve put me in the mood to see “When Harry Met Sally” again. I love the scenes where she struggles with the Christmas tree!

    Also, I have “One Fine Day” queued up on Netflix. When I saw it there, I immediately thought of you. I’ll report back when I see it.

    • I dipped into When Harry Met Sally… yesterday afternoon while wrapping Christmas presents, before I knew it I’d watched the whole film.
      For all its charm, there’s no way One Fine Day can stand comparison with When Harry Met Sally… if you do watch it though, I hope you enjoy it.

  8. Hi Paul. What a lovely post. Perfect to round off a weekend of snow and European Christmas Spirit. I’d never thought of Meg in a Western but she clearly would work as I immediately visualised it.
    Have a wonderful Christmas break with the three “m”s…
    Here’s to the great posts you’ve shared this year and those to come in 2018.

    • Nice to hear from you, I trust you’re enjoying this European festive season. I’m looking forward to my visit to Switzerland in June, hopefully things will have warmed up a tad by then.
      Meg in a western? I’m glad we’re in agreement. I’ve pondered the prospect ever since she turned down the chance to star with Mel Gibson and James Garner in Maverick. She’d have been a perfect fit for Sommersby too!
      Thanks for putting up with my peculiarities all year, and special thanks for your input into the Addicted to Screwball Blogathon. We must do it all again some time!

      • Peculiarities? What peculiarities??? It has been awesome this year. And with settling in with my new life, I’m managing to find time for my hobbies again. One step at a time.
        Europe is just gorgeous at this time – for me, as a total newbie (I only know summer Europe), this Christmas spirit is absolutely magical. And today’s snow just gorgeous. Sigh…I love this…

  9. As always, I love the connections you draw between Meg and Michelle to other pfabulous dames from cinema’s past. You know my feelings on both these pfilms (I adore them), so I always look forward to reading your insights about them.

    I have another Pfeiffer piece in the bag, hope to share it soon. Stay tuned! I had the flu late last week and over the weekend, so it really derailed any plans I might’ve had. Ugh. Feeling better today, more like my old self!

  10. Well, I think I may hold off on posting the next Pfeiffer piece until post-Holidays, so it doesn’t get lost in the holiday sauce, as it were. But in the meantime, here’s a Christmas top five films post, featuring a film starring my favorite lady in the lead spot, of course.

    http://wordsseemoutofplace.blogspot.com/2017/12/all-i-want-for-christmas-top-five.html

    In case we don’t connect over the hectic next week or so, I hope you enjoy a happy and prosperous holiday, my friend.

    • I think you’re wise, Michelle doesn’t deserve to get lost in the sauce. Best wishes my friend, I’m very happy you stumbled across this place.

      • Thanks, my friend, and happy holidays and best wishes right back at ya. One of 2017’s highlights has been connecting over our shared enthusiasm and love for Michelle. I have plenty more Michelle pfilms to cover in 2018, so stay tuned. And I look forward to your wonderfully insightful posts that make connections between Michelle and Meg films I’d never considered before. Always an enlightening read.

  11. I like your comparison to the Hawksian heroine!!! Enjoy ’tis season!!
    See you in 2018!! 🙂

  12. Lovely post, indeed, and The Apartment is a nice one to re-watch in this season, enjoy! For myself, I also always remember Meg Ryan’s character decorating her Christmas Tree in You’ve Got Mail. It puts me also in the Christmas-spirit.

  13. Hi Paul, happy new year! Hope I’m not being too forward by sharing but I figured you might like my latest post–another look back at a very early TV gig for our girl Michelle. Enjoy! Can’t wait to see what you have in store here in 2018.
    http://wordsseemoutofplace.blogspot.com/2018/01/michelle-pfeiffer-early-years-bad-cats.html

  14. I know I’m late but I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year.

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