The Play’s The Thing

Some movie recommendations from the phantom memory:

Whirligig (in Comedy): Trudy and Claude (Kate Beckinsale and Jude Law) shimmy their way through Swingin’ London in this mod extravaganza. Initially a celebration of the miniskirted, moped-riding early sixties, the film morphs into something else entirely after the pair meet Professor Guildenstern (Sir Ian McKellan), an amateur chronophysicist who accidentally sends them to the grubby East End of the 1990s. Hilarity ensues as they try to find their way home in time.

Chaste as Ice (in Classics): This little-known screwball comedy was unseated at the box office by Billy Wilder’s Ball of Fire, which boasted both a very similar plot line and the star power of Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper. In Preston Sturges’ Chaste as Ice, showgirl and one-time girlfriend of a mobster Shotzie O’Fealya (Billy Holiday) dons a wimple and gets her to a nunnery to escape threats from her former flame. Despite her numerous faux pas, the sisters fall for her smooth line of patter and take her in as one of their own.

Rogue and Peasant (in Foreign): An 18th century highwayman (Gérard Depardieu) goes to ground in a small hamlet, where he takes refuge in the home of a peasant farmer (Jean Reno). Despite their differences, the two forge a strong friendship which is tested when an official investigation brings close scrutiny upon the village.

Hawk Handsaw (in Action/Adventure): Bruce Willis toughs it out again in Renny Harlin’s 1999 action blockbuster. As fey and furious villain Count Voltimand, Alan Cumming exudes a twinkling, strangely chilling menace, and Julianne Moore brings a believable fragility to her scenes as Hawk’s oft-endangered fiancée.

Thrift! Thrift! (in Classics): One of his moneyed pals bets corporate bigwig and playboy Dane Prince (Jack Lemmon) that he cannot live on the income allotted to Dane’s own entry-level employees. Determined to keep to his shoestring budget without curtailing his antic love life, Dane resorts to more and more elaborate schemes of frugality, raising the comic stakes with every step.

A More Removéd Ground (in Drama): Emma Thompson stars as Elsinore, a newly divorced woman deeply affected by her estranged father’s death and mother’s hasty remarriage. Distancing herself, she moves to a ramshackle cottage in the Danish countryside, where she comes to terms with her grief and her future.

2B (Mystery/Thriller): Stodgy accountant Bernard Francis (Colin Firth) wonders if something dodgy is going on next door. Strange mechanical sounds in the night, comings and goings at all hours, and odd wailings from the seldom seen black-clad neighbor raise his suspicions, and Bernard steels himself to investigate, only to discover that opening the door to 2B sets loose a sea of troubles.

Rotten State (in Mystery/Thriller): In the wake of the President’s sudden death, a Washington reporter stumbles upon an unthinkable conspiracy — or does he? Gary Oldman is riveting as Frank Bacon, the journalist who suspects the President’s apparent heart attack was an assassination orchestrated by the First Lady and the Vice President. Bacon’s composure unravels as he gets swept up in the plot and starts to find himself tailed and troubled at every turn. But is the plot real, or only a phantom of Bacon’s fevered imagination?

If you are curiously unable to locate these films, may I instead suggest Hamlet (starring Laurence Olivier), Hamlet (starring Kenneth Brannagh), or even Hamlet (starring Ethan Hawke)?

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One thought on “The Play’s The Thing

  1. Hi there! Hadn’t heard from you in awhile. Thanks for the movie recommendations. I just finished reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, a classic of sorts. Now they are making the movie starring some of the cast of Titanic – Kathy Bates, Dicaprio, and Kate Winslet. Should be good! Miss and Love you, Auntie

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