Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Golden Age of Hollywood

Last night while staying up too late (again), the thought came into my head. "When is it going to be doppelganger week again on Facebook?" It seems like a long time since the last one, doesn't it? Well, in times like these I turn to my trusty source for all things pop culture and completely trivial: Wikileaks, oops . . . I mean Wikipedia! The trusted Wikipedia told me that Doppelganger Week (don't you think it should be capitalized?) is the first week in February. Why, that is NOW! No wonder it seems so long; it's been a whole year.

The reason this is so funny is that on Sunday night at ward prayer (don't worry guys - I'm working on a lexicon of Mormon lingo for those of you who are not familiar), everyone was asked to think about who would play them in a movie version of themselves and then share it with the group. This, of course, was just an excuse to get people talking as ward prayer is really just a ploy to get those crazy singles to date! Well, I was thinking about it because this is actually a fun thing to ponder, but I found that it was easier for me to think of who should play other people than who should portray myself. Perhaps that is because there is no one quite like me? We'll say that's the reason. Anyway when it was my turn, I spouted out some popular actresses like Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner. Basically anyone that already had droves of adoring fans and therefore would make just about everyone want to be me due the fact that they already want to be her. (Confusing sentence?)

But the girl right before me said that she wanted Lucille Ball to play her, and I thought, "Wait, are we allowed to pick dead people?" So after I had given my lame answer, I started thinking through all my favorite classic movies wondering which actress had the right look, the right comedic timing, the right je ne sais quoi that is the essence of . . . me. And I decided that Barbara Stanwyck was my girl.

Until I looked her up the next day and realized that I had associated the wrong name with the actress I was actually looking for.

Jean Arthur. Jean Arthur is my girl.

Wasn't she just lovely?
Even better, she was funny. And that is why I chose her.

Here's a great tribute to telemarketers. I love it, so universal. Although I usually don't get calls offering me furs and jewelry . . . just people asking for money (I love you too, Metropolitan Opera).

Also, I found this picture of her which I think was back when she was in silent films, before the world came to hear that wonderfully quirky little voice of hers and before she bleached her hair blonde. I've taken the liberty to take a similar picture of myself with my handy dandy built-in iSight camera so you can compare. I didn't specifically do my hair for this, but I'm pretty sure it could look like hers if it wanted to. I understand that we don't look exactly alike. I mean, I would hope that as a portrait artist I could see when people have similar features and I admit that we don't really. But she's great and I would still have her portray me in a riveting and hilarious movie version of my life. My life is riveting and hilarious, of course.

A cute young little Jean Arthur.

A cute young little me.

Furthermore, if I got to choose who would play opposite good ol' Jean - and therefore play my love interest - I would emphatically choose Jimmy Stewart. And not just because I've seen them on screen together, but because I have decided that I love to watch Jimmy Stewart. I'm pretty positive that he is my all-time favorite actor. He is so great at what he does. He really reels me in. (Please excuse the terrible pun - it's a really bad habit I've gotten into and I don't know how to stop it. I blame Dr. Gray!) I'm sure some think he's a little goofy, but he's seriously a master of his craft (and he 'ain't bad looking either). Please just watch some of his movies, he's fabulous.

I mean, just look at those eyes!

While we're on the subject, can we talk about classic films? I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I LOVE classic films. I miss the days when writing was clever and girls had gumption while still having grace. You hardly ever see that anymore in the big blockbusters that Hollywood cranks out now. So much of the money is put into explosives and too often the leading women are chosen for their cup size. Ok, so maybe I'm just picking on the Fast & the Furious series, but you have to admit, half of the movies that come out nowadays aren't fit to be seen. Which explains why I hardly ever go to the cinema anymore.

So for those of you who have not had the pleasure of discovering the world of old (I'm counting up through the 1960's) movies, I will list for you some of my favorites. This is by no means a complete list, because there literally hundreds of wonderful movies that I can't even remember right now. Not all of these are black and white and I'm even including some musicals (don't worry boys, I'm putting in some Westerns, too). I'm just going to list the titles as they come to me, so sorry that I'm not dividing them up into genres, but I do need to get a few other things done today besides finally posting on my blog after almost a month of silence (btw, sorry 'bout that). We'll start with some classic Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart and go from there.

You Can't Take it With You
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
It's a Wonderful Life
Vivacious Lady (little known gem w/Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers)
The Philadelphia Story
The Shop Around the Corner
Big Country
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Long Hot Summer (can you say Paul Newman? *drool*)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (similar to the above)
Now Voyager
Roman Holiday
The Snake Pit
My Fair Lady
The Sound of Music
Mary Poppins (isn't Julie Andrews mesmerizing?)
Black Narcissus (nun thriller, I kid you not)
An Affair to Remember
North by Northwest
Wait Until Dark
Rear Window
My Favorite Wife
Swing Time
Holiday Inn
White Christmas
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Singin' in the Rain
The Quiet Man
The Searchers
The Longest Day
The Sons of Katie Elder
Arsenic and Old Lace
12 Angry Men
A Letter for Evie
A Place in the Sun
From Here to Eternity
The Taming of the Shrew (w/Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton)
The Ten Commandments
Lost Horizon
The Barefoot Contessa
Three Coins in the Fountain

That's what I can think of for now. Are there any you would add to the list? Please share, because this list suddenly seems urgent. Like the kind of thing I should have started years ago.

In parting. I've thrown in a few more shots of me a la iSight camera (I may have gotten a little carried away . . . but doesn't everyone have impromptu dress-up photo shoots in front their computer in the middle of the day?). I am a little embarrassed to post pictures of myself. I'm often the one jumping out of the frame when someone is yelling, "CHEESE!". And I've never been that girl who brings her digital camera everywhere to take self-portraits with each of her friends. (You know the shot with their faces squished together and the arm that is holding the camera extended out to the side?) But I couldn't help myself. The temptation to play dress-up was too great and I thought these two turned out to be especially glamorous. I was going for drama Bette Davis style.

By the way, did you know that if you use enough light, your nose almost completely disappears? Fabulous! Should have thought of it years ago. I could have avoided so much teasing in middle school.


  1. Jean Arthur is an excellent choice for you. Sometimes I think you were born a few decades too late. :)

  2. Jean does seem lovely...or at least she looks lovely. I'll have to go watch one of her movies. But I do know you and you are wonderfully lovely and make me laugh and smile. And your nose is lovely too. Middle schoolers are lame. There, I said it. :-)

  3. Aw! You're too adorable and totally have gumption (which makes me think of the guy from "The Holiday").

    P.S. I agree with Sarah about you being lovely and funny, but especially re: your nose and lame middle schoolers!

  4. Thanks guys! You're so sweet.

    Jenn - I totally thought of "The Holiday" too when I was writing that.

  5. I loved this post. I've always been embarrassed to admit how much I watch--and love--the classics. And, amazingly enough, I've seen most of the films that you listed. And I love Jean Arthur! While I love the old classics, I wish that the modern day movies were, like you said, witty and sexy and charming without all of the filth. Women knew how to "flaunt their stuff" without being crass and there were enough romantic scenes that could get your pulse racing without all of the nudity and sex. Some classics that I've also enjoyed--"The Awful Truth" or "Desk Set."