Thursday, August 30, 2012

When America Still Knew How 
to Have Fun

Irene Dunne and Cary Grant 
In The Awful Truth

This favorite scene comes towards the end. Lucy and Jerry Warriner (Irene Dunne and Cary Grant) have been in the midst of getting a divorce. At this point it is almost settled. Due in fact to be made final at midnight. 

Poor Jerry, who really never knew his own mind, is engaged to a snooty heiress from a rich, impossibly stuffy family, and is anxiously waiting for the divorce to come through. He arrives at his fiance's house to enjoy a sedate cocktail hour with her family. 

Meanwhile, Lucy Warriner, still madly in love with her husband, hatches a brilliant scheme, and makes a last ditch effort to save her marriage. Pretending to be Jerry's sister "Lola" she crashes the party, wreaks havoc, and rescues Jerry from the suffocating clutches of Wealth and Power in this memorable comic scene.

This film is said to have been mostly ad-libbed, and both Irene Dunne and Cary Grant were past masters at it. The beautiful, normally ladylike Irene Dunne is killingly funny, and if persistent rumors are true the words to the song are mainly her own and were not merely written out and handed to her. 

~ FreeThinke


  1. Whoa, upstaging Cary Grant. Didn't happen often.

    You could do a pretty interesting thesis on the state of marriage in the American screwball comedy.

  2. ...whereas I suppose "obscenity" passes for "fun" today.... it's more "authentic", you see. To exercise wit in avoidence of obscenity has become passe and a sign of elitist class separatism... right mr. ducky?

  3. This is why the classics are classic. Real life that we can all relate to, but dressed up and brought to us by talented and entertaining people.

    I enjoy a little "Outre" every now and then, but Hollywood today just seems so disconnected and in love with doing strange for strange's sake.

  4. Thersites,

    Much of the time you truly are a man after my own heart.

    I couldn't have put it better myself.

    ~ FT

  5. I understand, SilverFiddle, but what is lacking today may be summed up in four words:





    The loss of those qualities is why we have hit the skids.

    C-Span carried the convention uninterrupted, unedited, unexpurgated. Good for them, but I must say -- at the risk of offending many of "today's people" -- that the music was tasteless, vulgar, tawdry and appallingly ugly.

    It eroded some of the new found confidence and hope I felt after the excellence of the first night.

    ~ FT

  6. FT, a political convention is not the place to look for profound music.

    Be happy if you find profound idea. Which in this case if you did you were thinking in pretty mysterious ways.

    "Blow up your TV throw away your paper
    Go to the country, build you a home
    Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
    Try an find Jesus on your own ."

    --- John Prine


    Begin each day at 5:30 AM with finger-stretching exercises, followed by two or three of the Chopin etudes then by a Beethoven Sonata. If time permits, work on one of the Debussy Preludes, Estampes or The Children's Corner.

    Drink a pot of freshly brewed tea.

    Water the sixty-odd plants on the screened porch and patio.

    Feed and talk to the cats.

    Create a blog post, illustrate and publish it.

    Respond to a few comments at other peoples' blogs.

    Go out for breakfast.

    Do errands related to recent home renovation project -- buy paint, tools, brushes, cleaning fluids, lamp parts, arrange to move recently purchased second hand furniture to and from the garage to the new house. Shop for more bargain rugs, mirrors, pictures, lamps, shop for bargain fabrics for window treatments, etc.

    Write a new acrostic sonnet, some free verse, or a set of limericks or double datcyls -- usually while eating lunch.

    Make necessary phone calls.

    Answer correspondence.

    Brush and play with the cats.

    Review the blog, make a few responses, and read two or three articles.

    Listen to music -- mostly posted at YouTube.

    Put dinner in the oven or set it simmering.

    Review piano music from the morning's practice.

    Watch old movies, reruns of tolerable old shows, or a political convention, or segments of C-Span's Book TV.

    Play with the cats.

    Go to sleep exhausted but reasonably happy.

    There are worse ways to spend time, I should think.

    I shall be sad when the house project, which has taken three months to complete, comes to an end next week. I love restoring old, beaten up places, and making them "sing."

    This time I will be renting it to a very nice family I've known for eight years who have recently brought two very young boys into the world. They need a decent place to live, and I know I can depend on them to take good care of the new house, and do their level best to pay the rent on time each month.

    The plan is to leave the house to them in my will in exchange for their looking after me when I get too old or too sick to do everything for myself. I shall be eighty in eight short years. God willing, so this project should prove to be a good deal for them -- and for me.

    No plan is foolproof, but this "mutually self-serving transaction" may be as close as one might come.

    Trustworthy, deserving people are hard to find. With any luck at all, if Obama fails to get a second term, there may still be enough left to pay for the boys' college education and still do right by other heirs.

    If Obama & CO are permitted to continue their headlong dash to plunge us into the Abyss, nothing will matter anyway, and least I will have had the satisfaction of having tried to do a decent, not totally selfish thing in terrifying world fraught with uncertainty.

    ~ FreeThinke

  8. Ducky,

    When I think of the pomp and splendor of the way Mother England conducts her affairs of state accompanied by glorious music from Henry Purcell and Jeremiah Clarke through Handel and on to Hubert parry, Edward Elgar, Gustave Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and John Rutter I could cry at the dismal, asinine, ignoble display of ignorance, intellectual barrenness and rotten taste with which we represent ourselves on the world's stage.

    I'll never get over Britain's descent to commonness when Elton-on-the-John was allowed to "sing" at Princess Diana's funeral. Ugh!

    We've lost all sense of appropriateness and decorum.

    ~ FT



We welcome Conversation
But without Vituperation.
If your aim is Vilification ––
Other forms of Denigration ––
Unfounded Accusation --
Determined Obfuscation ––
Alienation with Self-Justification ––


Gratuitous Displays of Extraneous Knowledge Offered Not To Shed Light Or Enhance the Discussion, But For The Primary Purpose Of Giving An Impression Of Superiority are obnoxiously SELF-AGGRANDIZING, and therefore, Subject to Removal at the Discretion of the Censor-in-Residence.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.