Week-off Viewing Roundup and more Gregory Peck movie marathon

Happy Sunday, everyone! Well, that was that, my week-and-a-half-long holiday is now at an end. It’s ok though, I’m kind of excited to be going back to work tomorrow before I forget what it is I actually do, ahah. It’s been a pretty awesome week for movie viewing, by Sunday evening I’ve watched six films total (well seven if you count my Youtube viewing of Paradine Case), so most of the films I watched are part of my on-going Gregory Peck marathon. I feel like I’m the only one who’s suddenly smitten out of my wits here with a classic (read: dead) actor, I know Nick from Cinema Romantico is also in love with Joanne Woodward, but not sure if his um, obsession is as bad as me, ha..ha.. Well anyway, here’s what I watched this past week:

Thursday

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)
Gregory Peck played Tom Rath, a former soldier who faces ethical questions at his new job at a PR firm, as he tries to earn enough to support his wife and children well. This film is over 2.5 hours long and the pace is rather slow, but the plot of the story kept me engaged the whole time. There are flashback scenes as Rath reminisces on his years in the war and his affair with a girl in Italy.

The dilemma he faced in this film is quite relevant to today’s time, whether one chooses to be a company man who lives for his work or keep a balanced life of work and family. Jennifer Jones once again co-starred with him as his wife, but of course their relationship is less tumultuous than that in Duel in the Sun. It’s quite an interesting dynamic here too as Jones played a strong-willed and forthright wife, not the typical meek, dutiful housewife typically seen in this era. I highly recommend this one for any of you classic movie aficionados, or anyone looking for a good, well-grounded story.

The Guns of Navarone (1961)
I’ve been wanting to see this film for the longest time, especially since it came highly recommended by my pals Paula and Michael who are both fans of this WWII adventure thriller. Peck, Anthony Quinn and David Niven are part of a British team sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel.
This film is so darn entertaining from start to finish, plenty of action and great dialog as well as lighthearted moments peppered throughout. The special effects is really something to write home about considering the time this was made, particularly the realistic shipwreck scene. The score by Dimitri Tiomkin is also notable in creating the perfect mood. Now if you’re looking for a historically-accurate film, this isn’t one for you. There is no such place of Navarone in Greece and the size and location of the massive guns themselves are implausible but the historical inaccuracies didn’t derail this movie in any way as it was so well-done. I can see watching this film over and over again in the future. The blu-ray quality is really good and it’s also loaded with extras which are just as fun to watch as the film.

Friday

HUGO

I came to see this one blindly… I merely glanced through a few reviews and didn’t even want to read too much about the plot other than whatever’s presented in the trailer. I’m also not a Scorsese fan but intrigued by the look of the film. Well, it turns out to be an enjoyable family flick that looks beautiful and worth the 3D price. It’s not without flaws however, which I will discuss more in my full review.

Saturday

More Gregory Peck stuff, but I managed to sneak in a movie I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. Thanks to Michael’s in-depth article posted last week, I just didn’t want to delay watching it any longer!

The Purple Plain (1954)
Out of the dozen-plus GP DVD collection I’ve accumulated, this tiny-budgeted British war drama will surely get a lot of play in my place. It’s such a nice change to see Peck all disheveled and unkempt for most of the film, such a change from Roman Holiday which he did just a year before. Peck plays a Canadian squadron leader Forrester who lost his wife in a bomb raid. His depressed and suicidal ways almost cost him to be dismissed but a compassionate doctor introduces him to a Burmese girl and soon he finds a new purpose in life as he falls for her.

Fate plays a funny trick when he ends up stranded whilst on a routine flight, but his will to live actually becomes stronger. This isn’t a fancy film, but the substandard special effects is balanced by the exotic on-location setting and the sweet interracial romance between Peck’s character and a Burmese actress Win Min Than. It’s nice to see they didn’t cast someone like Jennifer Jones again and paint her eyes to look Asian or something. This is an absolute must-see for fans of Gregory Peck.

The Iron Giant (1999)
I’m so glad I finally saw this film! It’s a heartwarming story about a boy who makes friends with a giant robot from outer space that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy. The kid was initially terrified of the metal-eating robot and rightly so, but after he discovers that he’s a ‘friendly’ robot, they become quick friends and the boy becomes the ‘teacher.’ It reminds me a bit of How to Train Your Dragon in a way, though I think I still rate that a bit higher in my book.


There’s a good message about good vs. evil and choose to use one’s power for good which will resonate to people of all ages. The references to Superman is pretty cute so as a fan of the DC hero it’s such a treat. I read that somehow this movie didn’t do well at the box office, and that is a shame. Not sure if that’s the poor marketing from Warner Bros, but I’m glad that now it seems this movie has become sort of a classic and hopefully more people will see this in DVD/Blu-ray as it’s really worth a watch. So thanks again Michael for egging me on to watch it! 😀

Sunday

Roman Holiday (1953)

Well, talk about a perfect note to end my week-long holiday… I rewatched Roman Holiday for perhaps the fifth time. Oh my, its charm and lovely-ness never ceases to amaze me. One day I’ll write a special appreciation post for that timeless film… but this time I just want to take the time to say a little something about hat pitch-perfect final scene, nary a fairy tale ending in sight.

I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live.
~ Princess Anne

A lesser film would’ve ended with Princess Anne rushing out in haste, forgoing her royal duties to spend another day, a lifetime, with that irresistibly handsome newspaperman Joe Bradley. Yes that is what Joe desperately hopes for, and what WE the audience wants to have happened. Little did we know that director William Wyler will have none of that. So we wait… just as Joe waits for the palatial room to clear out. But he soon realizes she’s not coming out, so with a heavy heart he starts walking (that walk alone demands its own blog post, but that’s for another time). As he passes the two guards, he still takes a glimpse towards the stage once more. Empty. The music swells up, forcing us to realize they’re never going to see each other again. Joe keeps on walking towards the camera and disappears, carrying the memory of that day in Rome that he too will cherish for as long as he lives.

Woof! It’s a sobering finale… but one that I too, will cherish for as long as I can remember!


Well, that’s it folks. So what did YOU watch this past weekend?

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51 thoughts on “Week-off Viewing Roundup and more Gregory Peck movie marathon

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of Peck! Out of all of those, I have only seen Roman Holiday, which I agree is terrific. I am going to try to catch Hugo in 3D sometime this week since everyone has been saying that is the best way to see it.

    I watched The Big Sleep over the weekend. I really enjoyed it, even though it was a little difficult to keep track of what was happening near the end. Can’t wait to see The Maltese Falcon now, which is coming up soon in my project.

    Glad to hear you had a great weekend, Ruth.

    1. Ha..ha.. well when I said I was gonna have a GP marathon, I really wasn’t kidding, ahah. I have about a half dozen films to go yet, but there are still more of them I haven’t even looked into.

      What’s The Big Sleep about? Is that a newer film? The Maltese Falcon is a classic isn’t it? Haven’t seen that one yet I’m afraid.

      1. The Big Sleep is an older Film Noir starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It’s based on a Raymond Chandler novel. The Maltese Falcon is another Film Noir starring Bogart, but that one is based on a Dashiell Hammett novel. I can’t get enough of that time period right now. 🙂

        1. Hi, Eric and Ruth:

          If you’re a fan of Hammett or Chandler. Check out ‘The Glass Key’ with Alan Ladd and William Bendix from 1942. A very faithful adaptation of Hammett’s novel.

          Also the foundation for the Coen brothers’ ‘Miller’s Crossing’ from 1990.

          Even though Bogart is at his most hard boiled best in ‘The Maltese Falcon’. I still prefer ‘The Big Sleep’. His Marlowe seems to be having a lot more fun!

  2. PrairieGirl

    What great recaps of these GP films… I can’t wait to see them all! As I mentioned, I had a mini Peck Fest last weekend, thanks to you, and looking forward to the next ones in line. Right now I’m obsessed with Captain Horatio Hornblower and Peck looking regal in his 18th century British Naval captain’s uniform. His dripping walk out of the sea in it is almost too much to behold! Welcome back to the real world tomorrow ;;-D

    1. I will lend you a few of them this week, I especially want you to see The Purple Plain. He’s just amazing in that one, such a little war movie but it’s got quite a lot going for it and his struggle to survive to the point of death of dehydration is great to watch. He’s not the typical dashing, well-dressed gent in it as he’s hot & sweaty 99% of the time, not that I’m complaining 😉

      How could I forget about that ‘dripping walk out of the sea’??!! I must be blind or something. Could you bring that Hornblower dvd back for me tomorrow so I can rewatch it?

  3. Whahaha talking about being obsess!! I feel fine with my 3Cillian Murphy in a week now that I see you and Peck Marathon 😉

    You watched quite a lot this week…me too. I watched 6 movies which I plan to review all. Hawking and The Orphanage are written as stand-alone post because those movies are too good. The other four will be mini reviews in 1post.

    I wanted to see Hugo but have second thought after reading Castor’s review. I am more into great story than stunning visual now. I will wait for your full review as second opinion 🙂

    Is there any movies of Peck with all wrinkle in his face?

    1. Ahahaha, yeah well I guess when I’ve bitten by the GP bug. I used to think I won’t be able to see more than 2 movies of one actor in a week and now I’ve done like 5, ha..ha.. I could even watch more if I have time.

      Sounds like the movies you watch are dark/horror ones?

      Oh I think HUGO is worth a watch, I don’t think Castor was knocking it though I agree the story sort of switch from one to another but it’s still related. I think it’s a good story for every film fans.

      Ahah Nov, your question makes me laugh. Well ALL his movies where Peck is his 50s he’d have wrinkles on his face. I have Arabesque at home where he co-starred w/ Sophia Loren and he’s about 50 by that time. Oh, he’s got some wrinkles in ‘Navarone’ too but generally he looked younger than his age. I’m still watching his earlier films now from the 1940s-50s and will move on to his later ones.

      1. nah, the only horror I saw is The Orphanage which is not so horrific. It has great story instead of great horror.

        hehe I will wait for that review of old GP 😉

  4. Wow… what a grand bit of movie-watching, Ruth! So glad you saw and enjoyed ‘The Guns of Navarone’ and ‘The Iron Giant’. Even then, you put together a fantastic set of films to watch. And that is one wonderfully cinematic scene from ‘Roman Holiday’ alright, and it goes to the greatness that was William Wyler and Dalton Trumbo. Well done, Ruth.

    No movies in theaters for me this weekend. Just watched Tim Burton’s ‘Big Fish’ (a movie I recommend to folk not really into this filmmaker) and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ on DVD & BD, along with the WB’s motion comic treatment of the ‘Batman Black & White’ comic series.

    1. Yeah both of those you recommended are great, I’m so glad I finally got to see ’em. ‘Navarone’ will get a lot of replay in my house, I just love the story and the camaraderie of the cast. Oh yeah I forgot to mention Mr. Trumbo, what a wonderful story he came up with on Roman Holiday… such a lovely & timeless story anyone could enjoy from any generation.

      I’ve been meaning to check out Big Fish for a while, should give that a watch one of these days. Thanks Michael!

  5. Watched ‘The Ides of March’. Good flick. Top notch cast. Clooney, Tomei, Giamati, Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Gregory Itzin, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Mingella (The Social Network) and Ryan Gosling who should definitely see some love this awards season. Saw ‘Margin Call’. A tight wall street thriller with a great cast. Irons, Spacey, Quinto, Bettany, Tucci, Simon Baker, Demi Moore (who was quite good) and Mary McDonnell who makes a cameo. Would be a great double feature with ‘Wall Street’, ‘The Inside Job’ doc or ‘Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room’ doc. Watched a really great film from South Korea called ‘The Man From Nowhere’. Reminded me a lot of ‘Leon: The Professional’ and I mean that in a good way. It’s violent like Oldboy but it has a great heart. The young Korean girl, Kim Sae-ron, gives a great performance. Highly recommended. South Korea’s highest grossing film in 2010.

    Ruth my blog, I Have Seen The (((((O))))), is finally up. Yea!
    CHECK IT OUT EVERYBODY: http://ihaveseenthesun.wordpress.com/
    Click on the ABOUT link to see what I’m all about. Constructive criticism and suggestions are always welcome as I’m learning as I go.

    Dave

    1. Nice selection of movies there Dave, I’m really curious about Margin Call but probably rent that one. But first let me congratulate you on your new blog, woo hoo!! I just left you a couple of comments on it. Btw, I noticed that some of the Youtube links didn’t display properly, you might want to check the code… usually you need to have but other times you can just post the SHARE link from Youtube on there and you should be set.

    2. I found the ending in The Man form Nowhere really unsatisfying. Iit was supposed to be happy, but if you think logically the little girl is just gonna end up back where she started thus making the whole movie pointless.

      1. Why do you think she was going to end up back where she started? She started the movie with her mom and her pimp which was clearly no good and she couldn’t go back there anyway so how could she end up back where she started. She seemed resourceful enough that she’d be ok on her own, not unlike Matilde in Leon: The Professional. Did you see Leon as pointless? Any place was better than where she was. Also how else could they have ended it? Foster care?

        1. It was a while since i saw it, but to me it seemed like it was heading in a direction where the guy would adopt her. That was just my initial reaction to it.

          And i haven’t seen Leon:The Professional. I want to, but haven’t been able to get a copy of it thus far

  6. Pingback: Bollywood will miss its 'Gregory Peck' | Latest News Update

  7. wow love your weekend. That marathon is really picking up pace huh?

    I have also installed the snow plugin on FRC I hope you don’t mind, you were my inspiration on that one!!

    Merry Xmas!!

    1. Yes matey, the Peck-a-thon isn’t going anywhere any time soon, ahah. Oh yeah I saw the snow on your site too, VERY cool matey. I’m honored that you got it because of me 😀

  8. Great weekend viewing! I think you have officially surpassed me in Peck cinema-going 🙂

    This weekend, I caught ‘Shame’ … that is all my addled brain could handle this past weekend 😉

    1. Ha..ha.. I think I surpass a lot of people in terms of my GP dvd collection too, I’ve got more than a dozen as of now in just a matter of a month!

      Just left you a comment on your SHAME post, that’s not my cup of tea at all I’m afraid.

  9. I recently watched ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ (in preparation for ‘My Week with Marilyn,’ naturally) and it ends similarly to ‘Roman Holiday’ [SPOILERS for a 50+-year-old movie, I guess] – the commoner forced to leave the royal they’ve fallen in love with behind – only the question of whether Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier will get back together is a bit more open-ended. It’s a good movie, but I’d say ‘Holiday’ is better.

    1. Wow Monroe and Olivier, I might have to check that out. What I like about ‘Roman Holiday’ is that it’s a twist to the classic Prince Charming story as it’s the Princess and the ‘pauper’ y’know, though I can’t really describe Joe Bradley as a pauper, ahah.

  10. Ted S.

    Wow sounds like you had a lot fun time watching all those films, I wanted to see Hugo since I heard it looks great in 3D and of course I’m big Scorsese fan. I remember when The Iron Giant came out in theater, it pretty much just came and went in a brink of any eye. I think the studio just didn’t believe in it and decided not to market it at all. I still need to see it since I’m a fan of Brad Bird too.

    I bought The Expendables for cheap at Target and watched it over the weekend, I actually enjoyed more than I did when I saw it in theater back in summer of 2010. Then I watched the first disc of The Two Towers extended in edition, even though it’s my least favorite of The Lord of The Rings films, it’s still a great film and I haven’t seen in a few years. I hope to finish watching the second disc tonight.

    1. I think you’ll enjoy HUGO, Ted, and yeah it definitely is one of the best use of 3D effects as it enhances the quality of the movie without being too noticeable, y’know what I mean?

      That is a shame about Iron Giant, so I guess that’s Brad Bird’s first foray before he went w/ Pixar then?

      Ha..ha.. I don’t think I’ll ever touch Expendables again, not the original nor the sequel. I loathed it so much when I saw it on the big screen it left a sour taste in my mouth, I mean, I could’ve easily walked out. I hope to rewatch LOTR again during the Christmas holiday, we only got around to watching the special features.

  11. Hi, Ruth and company:

    Wow!

    That’s a lot of loving’ directed at Gregory Peck. Also some of Peck’s best work. Excellent choices!

    I feel like kind of a lightweight after catching ‘Out of the Past’ with Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas on TCM, Saturday night. One of the great Noirs of the 1940s.

    1. Hi Jack, yep I’m in too deep in regards to Peck, I think my admiration for him just grows with every new (well new to me) film of his I watch. So you’ve seen The Purple Plain I take it? If you like war-themed or survival-tale movies, I highly recommend that one.

      What do you mean you feel ‘kind of lightweight’ after watching ‘Out of the Past?’ I love Noirs, especially the b&w ones, so evocative.

      1. Hi, Ruth:

        ‘Out of the Past’ is a Noir great. Though standing alone opposite a weekend of Gregory Peck tips the scale in your favor.

        ‘The Purple Plain’ is a superb example of no frills, disheveled, two day growth of beard, sweat stained, Peck on a slow to roiling boil. A refreshingly different role for an actor who rarely loses it and is the epitome of cool, classic calm.

        BTW:
        If you have a DVR and access to Turner Classic Movies. Thursday morning, the 8th at 11:00 AM. ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’ will be aired on TCM.

        Just a Heads Up.

        1. Ah I see what you mean, he..he.. don’t worry, now that I’m back to work I don’t think I can see even half as many movies!!

          GREAT mini review of The Purple Plain. Yes, totally agree on your assessment on Peck’s character, he’s kinda rude most of the time but his pal ‘Old Blore’ was getting on my nerves too!

          Oh man, too bad I don’t have cable. I really want to see ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’ Ah well, I’ll have to rent it later. I do have another Peck movie w/ Tony Curtis, Capt. Newman MD. So I might watch that this weekend 😀

  12. I saw Trust,Your Highness,and Apocalypse Now Redux.Trust was good, but kind of depressing.And i came into Your Higness with low expectations, but i have been known to enjoy some..low-brow humor so i thought i could enjoy it. For me the main problem with that movie is that the main character is unlikable for wayy to long, and by the time he becomes sympathetic its too late. And Apocalypse Now was crazy, but still kept me entertained.

    1. I’ve liked very few directors cuts. Maybe that’s because I was used to the original but I think there usually was a reason the footage was cut.

      I liked Brazil (studio interference), The Godfather Epic (shown in chronological order), Metropolis (added lost footage) & Touch Of Evil (studio interference).

      I didn’t like the directors cuts of Apocalypse Now Redux, The Abyss, Donnie Darko, Leon: The Professional, The Exorcist, Sling Blade, T2, Cinema Paradiso, Superman II, The Star Wars special editions, Aliens, Alexander (either version), Once Upon a Time in America, Natural Born Killers, Watchmen, Waterworld, Amadeus, The Last Emperor and even Blade Runner w/o the narration. Most of the directors cuts just made the films longer.

      The LOTR Trilogy, Das Boot, Heavens Gate, The Big Red One and Dark City I’m kind of neutral about.

    2. There is absolutely nothing in Your Highness that interest me, especially the cast. So is the lead guy James Franco or Danny McBride? I don’t mind Franco in some movies, just not this one. ‘Apocalypse Now’ is one of those I still need to check out at some point. I don’t know how I’d feel about it but I’m still curious enough to give it a shot.

      1. Danny, but for most of the movie you end up rooting for Franco’s character more. Although the main problem with the movie wasn’t really the actiing imo.

        And i just remembered i also checked out Dead man. Depp is great in it, but i think the movie itself might have been a bit too arty for me

  13. Wow. I’ve never even heard of The Purple Plain. You ARE obsessed with him! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. That’s how you so often find those special films and it sounds like it’s a really good one. Mental note has been made. And I love your breakdown of the end to Roman Holiday. Sigh. I remember the first time I saw it because I was not expecting it at all. Man, did it shatter me.

    And yes, I am totally smitten with Joanne Woodward. But I also think you & Gregory take the prize.

    1. Mwahaha, yeah I have an obsessive streak in me but fortunately (well unfortunately if you ask my hubby, ahah) it’s only when it comes to movies as I never had obsession w/ things or substance like alcohol. I guess we all have our ‘vice’ right and right now it’s Gregory Peck for me, which is odd as he’s not exactly a ‘bad boy’ y’know.

      As for Roman Holiday, I think you said it best… it ‘shattered’ me and my expectations, but at the same time I’m glad they did it that way and this time it’s the GIRL who had all the control. The expression on Peck’s face at the end when she left is just priceless.

      Ha..ha.. you’re conceding Nick? Come on, you gotta up the ante on Woodward 😉

  14. Ahaha now I see who “GP” is 🙂 I look forward to reading your Hugo review, I wrote mine a couple days ago myself.

    This past week, I saw some great foreign movies:

    – In a Better World: Susanne Bier is becoming one of my favorite directors. This is a homerun and very much deserving of last year’s Best Foreign movie Oscar

    – Incendies: Might just be the best movie I have seen in the last couple years

    – Wartime in Winter: Not as good as the previous two but still a solid flick about a boy discovering and helping a downed RAF pilot in the Netherlands during WWII

    1. Ha..ha.. you weren’t paying attention Castor, I thought I had that pretty clear the past few weeks 😉 I might have my HUGO review up by end of the week, got a few things in the pipeline first.

      Oooh, I’ve been wanting to see ‘In a Better World,’ so it’s out on dvd already then? The trailer looked really good, glad you like that one. Winter in Wartime, what an evocative title, sounds like a great film, who played the young boy?

  15. Wowser, that is a lot of movies! And like Eric said, a lot of Peck!

    I definitely need to add some Peck films to my rental list seeing as you’ve enjoyed them so much. Roman Holiday is already on it so hopefully I’ll see it soon.

    Hugo is out in the UK now, and I’m planning to see it later this week.

    1. Ha..ha.. yes it’s a lot of Peck but still not enough for me 🙂 I think when I said I was smitten w/ him people didn’t know just what that meant, but well, now you know, ha..ha…

      You really should watch more films of his, Claire, he made ANY genre watchable, well almost, as I don’t think I want to watch The Omen again.

  16. Fred

    I’m wondering if anyone has a list of all the movies that Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn have starred together?
    A friend is looking for a certain movie and doesn’t know the name of it other than it’s a romantic movie and has something about love in the title…so she says…i’ve looked and can’t find any romantic comedy or romantic drama that both of them have been in. all i’m aware of are the action and war titles.

  17. Pingback: Bollywood's 'Gregory Peck', Dev Anand, dies at 88 | Latest News Update

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