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The Film List Project #13: Dr. Strangelove, North by Northwest, and The Philadelphia Story

Not one, not two, but three movies this week! Don't get used to it!

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

I was pumped to finally get to watch what's considered one of the greatest comedies of all time. Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite directors. However, upon finishing the movie, I couldn't help but feel something was missing.

It had nothing to do with the film itself, but the environment I was viewing it in was lacking something. This is a movie I would have loved to have seen with an audience.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like going to the movies. I like sitting with people and communally sharing a laugh, a scream, a tear, etc. I will not, however, share my Buncha Crunch. Don't even ask.

I think this movie calls for that kind of environment. Alone, I felt funny (no pun intended) about laughing at certain scenes. I don't know why I was anxious about laughing, but an audience full of people would have made it a bit easier) I think I'm going to have to watch it again now that I'm more comfortable with the material.

I'm always (well, sometimes) very impressed when an actor plays multiple roles in a film like Peter Sellers did in this one. To find out that a lot of his lines were improvised was even more of a pleasant surprise. I must say, I'm a little worried that "Mein F├╝hrer! I can walk!" will become something I say.

I can't wait to watch this one again.

North by Northwest

I'm slowly, but surely, discovering the work of Alfred Hitchcock, or, as my friends and family like to call him, the guy I looked like when I had my wisdom teeth taken out.

Good ol' Hitchcock does a very good job of making me terribly afraid and confused. Despite feeling very dizzy throughout the film (a feeling that scares me when I think about having to watch Vertigo soon), I was so invested in Thornhill (Cary Grant) and his quest for survival.

There are so many modes of transportation in this movie. Planes, trains, automobiles. I can't help wondering if a modern retelling of the film would include an epic Segway chase. In my opinion, it would be quite slow, but a great way to bring the film into the 21st century.

I know that a lot of people see Cary Grant as this great star, but I was more interested in Eva Marie Saint in this movie. Eve Kendall fascinates me. She leads a crazy double life that would (you guessed it) confuse me if I lived it, so it's clear she's very intelligent and good at her job. Still, I can't help but feel like she's not being used to her full potential by the FBI.

I always wonder what would be different about a Hitchcock film had it been made today. His stories are timeless, but certain elements would definitely be vastly different in the 21st century. I can't help but think Eve Kendall would be even more of a player, Cary Grant would be some kind of TV executive instead of an ad executive, and the costumes would be pretty similar. I'm not saying remake it. Don't. It's a masterpiece the way it is.

The Philadelphia Story

Katharine Hepburn is my new hero. She's the queen of clever and sass in this movie, everything I strive to be. She keeps the men on their toes and everyone guessing, but it's this exact kind of hero worship that the film's all about.

The idea that Tracy Lord is seen by all these men as a goddess or queen is just what the character is trying to avoid. In doing so, she becomes seen like that in the eyes of the audience. She's unlike any woman onscreen, but by putting her on this pedestal, we're perpetuating the ideals about Tracy and extraordinary women in general that she's trying to avoid. She's just like all of us: a human being.

The two men who pursue her with such opinions of her grace and majesty are proving something about themselves: they're more interested in the conquest. They'd rather say they bagged a woman like Tracy than share a life with her. CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant again.) however, sees the whole picture, which both scares and excites her for all the right reasons.

This film is a really interesting look at romantic relationships for people in and of any age. They're about ben with someone, not having someone, an idea the Dexter has finally found out and is trying to teach Tracy. Once she realizes it, she can finally stop questioning herself and find happiness.

I think I've found one of my new favorite movies in The Philadelphia Story. 

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