Monday, October 31, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Francis Joins the WACS (1954) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

FRANCIS JOINS THE WACS (1954) is the fifth movie in the seven-film Francis the Talking Mule Blu-ray collection from Kino Lorber.

I've been steadily working my way through this set since it was released a few months ago, and this was one of the series' most engaging titles thanks to a good cast.

Since the conclusion of FRANCIS COVERS THE BIG TOWN (1953), in which Peter Stirling (Donald O'Connor) became a reporter, he's gone back to his previous occupation as a bank teller. He's stunned when he receives a telegram -- he's been called back to military service!

Peter is none too happy, but he's got an even bigger shock ahead when he reports for duty and finds himself on a WACs (Women's Army Corps) military installation. Somehow Peter has been called to service in the women's branch of the military!

Major Louise Simpson (Lynn Bari), the commanding officer, tries to get Peter transferred off the base, but in the meantime he's assigned to work training the women in camouflage techniques. The women will be in a competition overseen by General Benjamin Kaye (Chill Wills), who's skeptical of women in the military, and they want to prove themselves.

Of course, Peter's pal Francis the Talking Mule is on the base as well, and the strange thing is...he sounds just like General Kaye!

Peter is surrounded by lovely ladies in uniform including Julie Adams, Mamie Van Doren, Mara Corday, and Allison Hayes. He's also reunited with the goofy nurse (Zasu Pitts) from the mental health clinic he visited in the very first film.

This movie has a little bit more to it than some of the other films in the series, thanks to the storyline of Peter attempting to help the WACs succeed in their competition. It's still no great shakes, but Adams and the other ladies make it a pleasant 95 minutes. Checking out the interesting casts is a big part of the fun in watching this series.

FRANCIS JOINS THE WACS was directed by Arthur Lubin and filmed in black and white by Irving Glassberg.

The FRANCIS JOINS THE WACS Blu-ray is from a brand-new 2K master. The disc includes a newly mastered version of the trailer and a commentary track by Lee Gambin and Staci Layne Wilson.

Previous reviews in this set: FRANCIS (1950), FRANCIS GOES TO THE RACES (1951), FRANCIS GOES TO WEST POINT (1952), and FRANCIS COVERS THE BIG TOWN (1953).

The final two films to be reviewed from the Francis collection are FRANCIS IN THE NAVY (1955) with O'Connor, Clint Eastwood, and Martha Hyer, and FRANCIS IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1956) with Mickey Rooney and David Janssen.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray collection.

TCM in November: Highlights

Happy November! It's time for a look at this month's schedule on Turner Classic Movies.

James Mason is the November Star of the Month. Mason was previously honored by TCM in 2003.

Over two dozen of Mason's films will be shown on Thursday evenings. Please note there will not be a separate Star of the Month post for November.

The November Noir Alley films are CITY OF FEAR (1959) on November 5th-6th, TENSION (1947) November 12th and 13th, THE UNFAITHFUL (1947) on the 19th and 20th, and DEATH OF A CYCLIST (1955) the 26th and 27th.

I particularly love TENSION, which has a marvelous cast including Barry Sullivan, Audrey Totter, Richard Basehart, and Cyd Charisse.

The Wednesday TCM Spotlight focuses on "royalty" this month. Also of note in November is the start of the TCM Musical Matinee franchise on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time/noon Eastern. The musicals kick off with Dave Karger hosting AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951) on November 5th.

There are a number of additional programming themes of interest this month which are included among the highlights below. Please click on any hyperlinked title to read the corresponding review. Happy viewing!

...November kicks off with a seven-film tribute to director George Cukor on November 1st. I'd like to particularly call attention to the excellent drama A LIFE OF HER OWN (1950), starring Lana Turner, Ray Milland, and Barry Sullivan.

...This month's only showing of PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE (1952) will be on November 3rd. It's admittedly not an especially good film, but the theme is particularly fitting for November, and it has a wonderful cast including Spencer Tracy, Gene Tierney, and Van Johnson.

...James Mason's Star of the Month films begin on the evening of November 3rd. The lineup includes an MGM favorite, EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE (1949), which has an all-star cast including Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Ava Gardner, and Cyd Charisse (seen here).

...A November 4th evening of films set in Egypt includes THE MUMMY (1932), which was filmed at Red Rock Canyon, which I visited this past summer.

...Silent Sunday Nights on November 6th features OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS (1928) starring Joan Crawford and Johnny Mack Brown.

...Great opening title sequences are highlighted on the evenings of November 7th and 14th. Titles on the 7th include CHARADE (1963), starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

...There's a fantastic day of Robert Ryan films on November 8th, including one of my favorites, ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1952), costarring Ida Lupino.

...November 9th features a birthday tribute to another favorite, Hedy Lamarr. The seven films shown that day include EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944), costarring George Brent and Paul Lukas.

...On November 10th the theme is jewel thieves, including one of my favorite "B" films, DOUBLE DANGER (1938), starring Preston Foster and Whitney Bourne.

...Veterans Day will be commemorated on Friday, November 11th, with a lineup of five films about World War II including THE LONGEST DAY (1962).

...Another very fun "B" film, CRASHING HOLLYWOOD (1938), will be shown late on November 12th. Lee Tracy stars.

...There's a seven-film birthday tribute to Dick Powell on November 14th. I've seen every film and they're all good or great; I'll particularly recommend Anthony Mann's 1860s suspense film THE TALL TARGET (1951).

..."Sibling Rivalry" is the theme on November 15th, with the lineup including the very good EAST OF THE RIVER (1940) starring John Garfield, Brenda Marshall, and William Lundigan.

...November 16th features a lineup of terrific films based on classic literature, including LITTLE WOMEN (1933) and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940).

...TCM celebrates Christmas early on November 18th with a new CNN documentary, 'TIS THE SEASON (2022), and a trio of Christmas classics: CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947), and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944).

...THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY (1949), the last of ten films costarring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, will be shown on November 20th.

...The 24-hour memorial tribute to Angela Lansbury takes place on Monday, November 21st. A dozen films will be shown including her second film, the wonderful NATIONAL VELVET (1944). Lansbury is seen here in that movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Juanita Quigley. 

...The theme on November 22nd is "The Automat," featuring the recent documentary I reviewed a few days ago. The evening will also feature films with scenes set at the Automat, including THIRTY DAY PRINCESS (1934) and EASY LIVING (1937).

...A rare TCM showing of THE KING AND I (1956) takes place on Thanksgiving Eve, November 23rd, as part of this month's "royalty" theme.

...Thanksgiving Day features a great lineup of family films including THE SECRET GARDEN (1949), seen here with Dean Stockwell and Margaret O'Brien, and the colorful MGM version of LITTLE WOMEN (1949). O'Brienn is again featured in that film, although with June Allyson, Janet Leigh, and Elizabeth Taylor.

...The 70th anniversary of Cinerama will be marked the evening of November 25th with the films THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM (1962) and HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1962), as well as a 2021 documentary on the restoration of THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM.

...The excellent Howard Hawks film ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939), with Cary Grant and Jean Arthur leading a top cast, will air on Sunday, November 27th.

...SNOWED UNDER (1936) is a fun comedy which stands up to repeat viewings. George Brent, Genevieve Tobin, and Glenda Farrell star on November 28th.

...The marvelous Western BLOOD ON THE MOON (1948) will be shown November 29th. Robert Mitchum and Barbara Bel Geddes star. Halloween 2022, incidentally, was the centennial of Bel Geddes's birth.

...November concludes with a birthday tribute to Virginia Mayo on November 30th. The lineup includes a favorite Western, FORT DOBBS (1958), costarring Clint Walker and Brian Keith.

For more on TCM in November 2022, please visit my Quick Preview of TCM in November along with TCM's online schedule.

Happy November, and early wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

In my Halloween post a couple years ago I wrote about how Halloween costumes and props tend to appear over and over again, and I shared photos of the same outfits being reused on several actresses.

This year I've zeroed in on one particular prop, the Universal Pictures giant Jack o' Lantern! This large pumpkin was repeatedly used in photos with numerous Universal Pictures starlets, including Anne Gwynne (above).

Here a young Gwynne poses on the pumpkin along with Peggy Moran, who married director Henry Koster:

Anne Nagel is in the next series of poses. As seen in these photos, the pumpkin is easy to recognize in part because of the distinctive shape of its mouth.

Here's Peggy Moran again in a different photo session:

The next two shots are of Peggy Ryan:

And a couple with Nan Grey:

Young singing star Gloria Jean posed with the pumpkin also!

Universal seemed to reuse their Halloween props in publicity photos more than any other studio. I already have a post organized for next year featuring the same studio's stuffed black cat!

Enjoy the day!

Previous Halloween posts, in reverse chronological order: Ellen Drew (2021), Martha Vickers, Gale Robbins, Penny Edwards, and Barbara Bates (2020), Ann Rutherford (2019), Janis Paige (2018), Ella Raines (2017), Veronica Lake (2016), Barbara Bates (2015), Marsha Hunt (2014), Linda Darnell (2013), and the BEWITCHED cast (2012).

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Tangier (1946) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

The terrific Dark Side of Cinema Blu-ray sets keep coming from Kino Lorber, most recently Volumes IX and X.

I'll be reviewing the films in both sets, along with completing outstanding reviews from prior sets. So many great Kino releases, so little time...!

TANGIER (1946) is part of Volume IX, and while I recognize this movie may not be every film fan's cup of tea, I loved it. A terrific cast in an interesting, atmospheric postwar spy thriller -- what's not to like?

The film stars Maria Montez, attempting to jumpstart her career at Universal Pictures following the previous year's release of the last of her six films opposite Jon Hall. Happily, all of the Montez-Hall films are also available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

In TANGIER Montez plays Rita, a nightclub dancing sensation there who is hunting for the escaped Nazi sympathizer who tortured and killed her father and brothers during the war.

The gorgeous Rita juggles several admirers: American newspaperman Paul Kenyon (Robert Paige of CAN'T HELP SINGING); courtly Col. Jose Artiego (Preston Foster); and her dancing partner Ramon (Kent Taylor), who is in turn loved by Dolores (Louise Allbritton).

All parties battle for control of a large diamond which Rita believes will lead her to the man who killed her family.

The fine cast also includes Sabu, who sings several songs, and Reginald Denny, along with Charles Judels, J. Edward Bromberg, Joan Shawlee, Rebel Randall, and Erno Verebes.

This is admittedly a "B" film, and it's not perfect; Paige is fairly colorless, and I actually think the more charismatic Taylor, whom I've always liked, would have worked better in his role as the reporter. The movie also makes extremely obvious use of dance doubles, which is a bit confusing on top of a plot device involving a wigged Allbritton masquerading as Montez on the dance floor. (I found a fun comment on Montez's dance double, Crystal White, by her niece at Letterboxd.)

That all said, the movie has a great "look" and atmosphere -- some have compared it to a "low rent" CASABLANCA -- and a good story. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable 74 minutes thanks to the talents of people like Montez, Taylor, Foster, Allbritton, and Denny. This is the kind of movie I will often find more entertaining than a vaunted classic. It's simply good fun.

It's a shame that Montez's career stalled out and then she passed away unexpectedly at a young age, as I quite enjoy her. I at least have some more of her films ahead of me to enjoy for the first time, including PIRATES OF MONTEREY (1947) with Rod Cameron and Gilbert Roland.

George Waggner directed TANGIER, filmed in very attractive black and white by Woody Bredell. The excellent costumes were designed by Travis Banton.

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray, from a new 2K master, looks and sounds terrific. Blu-ray extras include the trailer; two additional trailers for other films available from Kino Lorber; and a commentary track by a name which is new to me, Felicia Feaster.

The other two films in this set are LADY ON A TRAIN (1945), a favorite Deanna Durbin film, and TAKE ONE FALSE STEP (1949) with William Powell, Shelley Winters, and Marsha Hunt.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.

Book Review: The George Raft Films

Actor George Raft has been a slowly acquired taste for me.

In my initial exposures to Raft I found him rather wooden. Back in 2013 I wrote "Try as I might, I just can't warm up to Raft," but I kept watching his movies, encouraged by the memory that he was one of my paternal grandmother's favorite actors, along with Clark Gable.

I share my grandmother's love for Gable and figured if I gave Raft a chance I might see why he also appealed to her, and that has proven to be the case. Having now seen at least 20 Raft films I've come to appreciate his performances in films such as SPAWN OF THE NORTH (1938), EACH DAWN I DIE (1939), and NOCTURNE (1946).

Now that I've seen a number of Raft's films, I was particularly glad to read James L. Neibaur's new book THE GEORGE RAFT FILMS, published by Bear Manor Media.

I enjoyed Neibaur's book FRANK SINATRA ON THE BIG SCREEN last summer and found his Raft book similarly insightful. He immediately tackles the issue of Raft's screen persona in his introduction, writing "Raft's economy of movement and low key verbal delivery have been unfairly defined as wooden and limited, when...given the right script and director, his style was nuanced and effective...," and continuing " crime dramas...were good for Raft's style of acting, and his best films in this field...hold up quite well."

I completely agree. Raft may not be my favorite actor, but over time I've come to appreciate his unique screen presence.

THE GEORGE RAFT FILMS focuses on exactly what the title says, the actor's body of work, weaving biographical information into the film discussions. The opening of the book briefly sketches Raft's background and his initial bit parts, then provides a film-by-film look from NIGHT AFTER NIGHT (1932) through A BULLET FOR JOEY (1955); the final chapter on SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) also goes into Raft's final film appearances. Raft spent half a century making movies; his last film was the year he died, 1980.

Each chapter lists standard FILMS OF... type factual information such as the cast and main production staff, along with additional helpful details such as running time. Many of us have become used to looking these kinds of things up on IMDb, but I find having information like this at one's fingertips in a book handy in conjunction with reading about or researching a film; it's also useful if one is using the book as a companion to viewing the actor's movies.

After the factual rundown Neibaur then places each film in the context of Raft's career, discussing production background, plot, and critical reception along with providing the author's critique of the overall film and Raft's performance.

Although I learned quite a bit about Raft's life through the book, I particularly enjoyed the author's reactions and personal insights into the films. A good example is his review of one of my favorite Raft films, NOCTURNE, where I enjoyed comparing our responses; Neibaur mentions how well the film's more lighthearted aspects work, along with the pleasure of watching its location footage of Los Angeles, which I noted in my own review was "one of the film's best aspects." Neibaur also comments that NOCTURNE allowed Raft to play a good guy, which was the actor's preference.

I found it particularly interesting that Raft believed playing heavies wasn't right for his screen persona and acting skill set. As Neibaur discusses, Raft is somewhat notorious for having turned down roles in highly regarded films like HIGH SIERRA (1941) which had the potential to drive him toward bigger stardom; instead of playing another "hood," Raft went on suspension.

While some criticize Raft for that type of career choice, as I've gotten to know Raft's work I find the productions he did choose rather interesting. It admittedly helps that I'm fond of "B" films, including Lippert productions, but despite my initial hesitations regarding Raft, I've found myself consistently curious to see his movies.

Along with reading about films I've already seen, I particularly enjoyed learning about films which I have yet to watch for the first time. A benefit of reading the book is that it's prompted me to pull DVDs such as LOAN SHARK (1952) off my shelf to watch soon; Neibaur describes LOAN SHARK as "very effective" and "consistently compelling." Sold!

I not only learned about Raft's career and films from THE GEORGE RAFT FILMS, but I happily also now have a list of movies I'd really like to watch. I recommend the book for anyone interested in George Raft.

The print copy of THE GEORGE RAFT FILMS is 358 pages including bibliography and index.  There are also a number of well-chosen black and white photographs.

Neibaur is nothing if not prolific, and he also has a new book out from McFarland, THE FILMS OF JUDY GARLAND, which I plan to review at a future date.

Thanks to Bear Manor Media and James L. Neibaur for providing an e-copy of this book for review.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Book Review: The Queen of Technicolor: Maria Montez in Hollywood

My most enjoyable movie experiences of the last year or two include getting to know the films of actress Maria Montez.

My Montez viewing includes the half dozen films she made for Universal Pictures with costar Jon Hall, all of which are available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Along with watching several Montez films, I learned a great deal about the actress thanks to this year's new biography THE QUEEN OF TECHNICOLOR: MARIA MONTEZ IN HOLLYWOOD. It was written by Tom Zimmerman and published by the University Press of Kentucky

I was intrigued by Montez when reading about her as a teen in the 1974 James Robert Parish book HOLLYWOOD'S GREAT LOVE TEAMS; the films sounded like fun, but none of them were available for watching in the late '70s! And while that book was a great initial primer on the Montez-Hall team's films, some of the biographical material in that book -- including Montez's birth year -- has been superseded by the new book thanks to Zimmerman's ability to do in-depth primary source research on the actress.

THE QUEEN OF TECHNICOLOR's pleasures begin with the beautifully designed cover with Montez in a colorful costume against a black and white backdrop, perfectly underscoring the book's title. I was certainly struck by the actress's stunning looks when watching her colorful movies and commented on her appearance in more than one review.

The author did impressive work digging into Montez's early years and reconstructing as many facts as possible -- not easy between the decades which have passed and Montez's creative biographical "embellishments."

One of the most interesting things about Montez is that she seems to have been ahead of her time as a one-woman publicity machine; she was determined to break into the movies and made it happen via well-staged nightclub entrances and other techniques. Her success is all the more impressive given that the Dominican-born actress was handicapped by speaking English as a second language and having to work on toning down her accent for her film roles while learning to act for the movie camera.

The book's main focus is on Montez's Hollywood career years, which makes sense both in terms of available research material and reader interest. The end of World War II also brought an end to her run of escapist film fantasies opposite Hall and her Hollywood career stumbled, though I have also very much enjoyed her in the Universal Pictures suspense film TANGIER (1946), which I'll be reviewing soon. After TANGIER she made nine more movies, some in Europe, before her untimely death in the fall of 1951, age 39.

I found THE QUEEN OF TECHNICOLOR one of the more entertaining film books I've read in the last couple of years; it's engagingly written, and I especially appreciated how much I learned. As a longtime film fan it's a treat to read a book like this with so much "new to me" information.

Since I've been watching Montez's films for the first time, I particularly enjoyed the book's detail on each of her films, including production history and critical reception. I learned a great deal pairing watching the film with reading the book and recommend this to anyone interested.

THE QUEEN OF TECHNICOLOR is 460 pages, about a fifth of which consists of end notes, references, and the index. The book contains over 100 black and white photographs, including publicity and film stills; they're printed directly on the page, but the reproduction quality is excellent. It's a hardcover book which weighs approximately 1.8 lbs.

Thanks to the University Press of Kentucky for providing a review copy of this book.

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...Earlier this month I shared the news that SECRET OF THE INCAS (1954) was being released on Blu-ray in Australia. Great news is that Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just announced they'll be releasing this film on Blu-ray in the U.S. from a "4K scan of 35mm YCM three-strip Technicolor elements." Charlton Heston's character in this film is considered to be a possible inspiration for Indiana Jones, along with Alan Ladd's character in CHINA (1943). A look at the SECRET OF THE INCAS poster makes clear why!

...Coming to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber January 10th: David Janssen and a great cast in WARNING SHOT (1968). The cast includes Eleanor Parker, Stefanie Powers, Joan Collins, George Sanders, and Walter Pidgeon.

...For anyone who missed the information in in my December schedule preview, Turner Classic Movies has announced it is shutting down the TCM website message boards effective November 30, 2022. They will still be available for reading until February 15, 2023, when they will be deleted.

...Seasonal fun from Jacqueline at Another Old Movie Blog: A link to Bing Crosby singing "The Headless Horseman" from Disney's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," which is part of the THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD (1949)...You can read about the 2019 70th anniversary "Sleepy Hollow" screening I attended on the Disney lot here. That was such a fun evening!

...EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944) is the latest review from Colin at Riding the High Country. I very much agree with him that Hedy Lamarr's performance has "warmth and credibility." I like this film a great deal.

...Coming to Blu-ray in December from the Warner Archive Collection: ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN (1958) and THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (1964).

...Attention Southern Californians: Beloved restaurant El Cholo will celebrate its centennial in 2023.

...Notable Passings: Jules Bass, producer of several animated holiday classics including RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (1964), has died at 87. Other programs included FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (1969) and SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN (1970)...I just learned that Jack Hannah, cofounder of the Western singing group Sons of the San Joaquin, passed away last summer at 88 (via Western Clippings)...Actor Jack Ging died last month at the age of 90. He had recurring roles on several TV series including MACKENZIE'S RAIDERS and MANNIX...Singer Jerry Lee Lewis has passed on at 87...Singer Janet Thurlow has died at 96...Broadway composer Lucy Simon (THE SECRET GARDEN) died last week at 82, one day after her sister, opera singer Joanna Simon, died at 85. Their sister was singer Carly Simon.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my October 22nd roundup.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Tonight at Disney California Adventure: Friday Night Lights

It was a beautiful evening at Disney California Adventure!

The weather was perfect as the end of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort nears. The holiday season begins at the parks on November 11th.

Snapped in line for the Pixar Pal-A-Round.

I got a nice shot of some of the beautiful lights at Pixar Pier from high up on the ride.

Looking up at the Incredicoaster track as we walked through Pixar Pier.

The lights of the Golden Zephyr:

A 360-degree panoramic shot of Cars Land. Click on it to enlarge for a closer look.

Cars Land closeups:

The Carthay Circle Theatre looking spooky for Halloween:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Anyone looking for a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy should enjoy TICKET TO PARADISE (2022), a new film starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

This movie only popped onto my radar screen a few weeks ago when I saw the trailer. I was a bit unsure whether the movie would work, as the couple spend most of the trailer bickering, but as it turned out, most of those scenes are from the early part of the movie. And the film does work wonderfully well.

Back in 2014 I named Kevin Costner and Julia Roberts as my favorite actors of the last quarter century, and that still holds true today. Julia may be in her 50s now but she's still got big-screen magic, and the same can be said of Clooney, who's now past 60. For those of us of a "certain age," it's rather wonderful to see a film focused on a couple who aren't kids.

Clooney and Roberts play David and Georgia Cotton, a long-divorced couple who are shocked when their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), newly graduated from law school, emails from her graduation vacation in Bali to announce that she's getting a Balinese seaweed farmer, no less.

David and Georgia hurry to Bali, anxious to stop Lily from making the same mistakes they made as a young couple. But as they get to know Lily's fiance Gede (Maxime Bouttier) and realize how happy their daughter is, they have second thoughts about their initial plan to break things up.

The parents also find themselves gradually working through some of their old issues and drawing closer, which is complicated when Georgia's younger pilot boyfriend Paul (Lucas Bravo) shows up in Bali as a surprise. Bravo comes off as a nice -- if somewhat silly -- guy who's just the wrong man for Georgia. The "Ralph Bellamy character" lives!

TICKET TO PARADISE is simply a very enjoyable "feel good" film about family and relationships. I felt the gradual, tentative development of David and Georgia's "new" relationship was handled realistically; not everything is neat and tidy at movie's end, as they clearly have a ways to go, but their story ends on a very "up" note.

Dever and Bouttier are charming as the young couple, and I liked that although there are bumps along the way, nothing shakes their commitment.

I also found Billie Lourd quite delightful as Lily's best friend Wren, whom one might describe as a soulful partier; it's a nice role, and she makes the most of it. Lourd clearly inherited acting talent and a sense of humor from her mother (Carrie Fisher) and grandmother (Debbie Reynolds). Lourd and Dever previously both appeared in BOOKSMART (2019).

I'd add that it's rather neat that Clooney and Lourd each have familial connections to beloved '50s singers-movie stars.

The movie is rated PG-13, and while it does have the odd swear word or off-color joke, this is one of the more family-friendly "new" films I've seen in quite a while. That includes the overarching themes of young love and family love.

I'd add that I saw some horrifically depressing trailers before the movie started; the world needs a lot more of TICKET TO PARADISE or TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022) and a lot less of the dreck I saw advertised today. TICKET TO PARADISE is doing nicely at the box office, and TOP GUN: MAVERICK is still playing here months after release, so perhaps there is hope for more positive theatrical films like these in the future.

TICKET TO PARADISE runs 104 minutes. It was directed by Ol Parker, who also worked on the screenplay with Daniel Pipski. The movie was filmed in Queensland, Australia, by Ole Bratt Birkland.

In this end, this film made me happy and left me smiling, and what more could one ask from a movie?

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