Oh, Turner Classic Movies, you're the only channel I ever loved

It's Oscar Month on Turner Classic Movies, and I've been recording and watching up a storm.

1. An American In Paris

I'm a total sucker for a musical, and I'm a total sucker for Paris, and I'm a total sucker for Gene Kelly and Oscar Levant. Clearly, this movie was made for me (18 years before I was born, but still).

What I like about this movie is that it is 2/3s of a typical romantic musical comedy, and 1/3 surreal and/or ballet. Set to great Gershwin tunes.

2. The Hospital

Script by Chayefsky and a bravura performance by George C. Scott. The middle section of the movie features a monologue, essentially, for Scott, and he had my heart pounding. He plays Doctor Bock, a man who is about to commit suicide, feeling hopeless about what is happening in his hospital and in his life. The end of the monologue is disturbing as he sexually attacks Diana Rigg, the daughter of a patient, after she has propositioned him and he initially rejected her. Darkly satiric and prescient about the business of medicine.

3. Casablanca

Believe it or not, I had never seen this movie from beginning to end. I love a good morally ambiguous character, and here we have them all over the place: Rick, who can't help but help out a gambler who is in over his head, but refuses to get involved in the larger issues; Captain Renault, who cheerfully fraternizes and supports the Nazis but still comes through in the end; Ilsa Lund, who is married to Mr. Perfect but has an affair with Rick while Mr. Perfect is in a concentration camp! You know this already, I loved it, although the dialog definitely sounds a bit cheesier having been parodied and copied a thousand times.

4. Sense and Sensibility

This is another one I'd never seen, and now it's another one I could watch over and over again when I'm feeling in the mood for something perfectly romantic. Of course, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman are all fantastic; Hugh Grant was completely in stuttery mode, but adorable. But my favorite moments by far in the movie were when Hugh Laurie was on screen, especially when Imelda Staunton, who played his wife, was chattering away. He was thoroughly unpleasant, and I found it delightful.

Also watched: Seven Brides of Seven Brothers - hurts my feminist head, but I love that barn raising dance scene, Howard Keel's magnificent voice and presence, Tommy Rall and Russ Tamblyn. Anchors Aweigh - kind of boring and enough already about Jose Iturbi! but it did have a very adorable Dean Stockwell and Rags Ragland, one of my favorite "hey, it's that guy!" guys.

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