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Dec 22, 2023

For our December 2023 Special Subject, we're having ourselves a Monty Woolley Christmas! We look at three Christmas-adjacent movies from the 1940s featuring the anti-Santa in roles big and small: The Man Who Came to Dinner, in which he stars as  waspish radio personality Sheridan Whiteside, who takes over the home of a bourgeois Middle American couple; Life Begins at Eight-Thirty, in which he plays a great actor who's been broken by alcoholism; and The Bishop's Wife, in which he adds some New York Bohemian intellectual colour to the holiday classic. We discuss the cultural and political implications of The Man Who Came to Dinner and the uncanniness of Cary Grant and debate the appeal of alcoholism. Then in Fear and Moviegoing in Toronto, we briefly discuss Ernst Lubitsch's Cluny Brown (fully discussed in our Jennifer Jones series) and a new release, a Christmas movie even darker than our Monty Woolleys, William Oldroyd's Eileen, starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway (a rare spoiler-free exchange of impressions from us). And as a bonus, we become possessed by the spirit of Monty Woolley and rant about how much we hate contemporary movie trailers. (No analysis, just invective.)

Happy Holidays! 

Time Codes:

0h 00m 45s:      Extremely brief Introduction to Monty Woolley

0h 04m 38s:      THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942) [William Keighley]

0h 31m 24s:      LIFE BEGINS AT EIGHT-THIRTY (1942) [Irving Pichel]

0h 42m 47s:      THE BISHOP’S WIFE (1947) [Henry Koster]

0h 54m 37s: Fear and Moviegoing in Toronto – Ernst Lubitsch’s Cluny Brown (1946) and William Oldroyd’s Eileen (2023)  


* Listen to our guest episode on The Criterion Project – a discussion of Late Spring

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Read Elise’s piece on Gangs of New York “Making America Strange Again”

* Check out Dave’s Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project! 

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