Where Bloggers Live: Favorite Movies
Welcome back to the monthly edition of Where Bloggers Live! I am lucky to have joined a terrific group of bloggers who give a peek into the places and spaces where they spend their time.
Today's topic is Favorite Movies...and while I would have a difficult time picking my #1 absolute favorite movie, it's very obvious what my top two favorite moves are!
Although I can't even remember how long it's been since I've had a video cassette player, I have been unable to part with a select group of movies on VHS. This is my Marx Brothers collection (and yes, I couldn't resist including the video of Aguirre, the Wrath of God because Klaus Kinski as Aguirre is giving the Marx Brothers some serious side-eye as they are positioned; the only crazy Aguirre can handle is his own crazy).
Growing up, I was familiar with the idea of the Marx Brothers, but I kind of categorized them with the Three Stooges and wasn't particularly interested in them. However, when I was in college, I visited a friend who was a big fan and I agreed to watch Duck Soup...I quickly found out that the Marx Brothers were nothing like the Three Stooges...and soon I fell entirely under their spell!
If you are unfamiliar with Duck Soup, it's a "1933 pre-Code musical black comedy film" in which "Groucho plays the newly installed president of the mythical country of Freedonia. Zeppo is his secretary, while Harpo and Chico are Sylvanian spies [another mythical country that is Freedonia's rival]. Relations between Groucho and the Sylvanian ambassador deteriorate during the film, and they go to war at the conclusion." (Wikipedia)
If you're wondering whether it's funny, it's incredibly funny in some of the zaniest, wittiest, craziest, strangest ways I've ever seen. Duck Soup is #5 on the American Film Institute's 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time...and while some of their choices are debatable, like the travesty of putting that great national treasure Good Morning Vietnam all the way down at #100, Duck Soup really does belong up there in the top 5. Roger Ebert has a terrific review of Duck Soup in his Great Movies series. (Ebert also has an interesting review of Good Morning Vietnam in which Robin Williams is compared to Groucho Marx in the first paragraph...)
Because I'm a fan, of course I have a Marx Brothers shrine. I mean, everyone keeps a shrine to their favorite actors in their home, right? That's a totally normal thing to do. Really! Here are its components:
This print was created by Albert Hirschfeld for the movie A Night at the Opera. I found this on eBay.
The Groucho doll was a gift from my best friend. The candle printed with the Duck Soup image was a gift from my husband.
I think my husband also got me this Groucho + Harpo light switch cover.
And the centerpiece...a Groucho, Harpo, and Chico cardboard cutout (also a gift from my husband)! You may notice that Groucho's lower leg has been damaged; well, that's what happens when two incorrigible rabbits and a big piece of cardboard share a living room. The munching mini rex bunnies in question were my beloved Kate (right) and Leo (left).
I also have a small collection of Marxist tomes. (Speaking of Marxism, somewhere in my stamp collection I have the very silly Groucho Marx/John Lennon stamp.)
And as you may have seen on my blog's front page, I love these rabbit-wearing-Groucho-glasses socks (a gift from my husband).
Now let's turn our attention to my other favorite movie, which I have loved for most of my life: the 1951 Disney animated Alice in Wonderland! I had the VHS version first but I did upgrade this one to a DVD at some point (and yes, I still have a functional DVD player). Unlike Duck Soup, this is not considered one of the great movies of cinematic history...which is totally fair. Though interestingly, like Duck Soup, it received a lukewarm reception when it first came out due to its strangeness but came to be more appreciated later. I guess I have a thing for movies that were a bit too weird for their time.
To me, it's one of those movies for children that remains entertaining into adulthood (and some aspects of the movie hit home stronger to adults). I think they did a good job of putting together bits from the two Alice books (plus new material) into a musical that would be enjoyed by American children who were not likely to relate to things like treacle wells or follow the machinations of a chess game. But definitely some people are amused to find it traumatizing and present it as more like a horror movie than anything else. I think the simple description "surreal animated Disney classic with mild peril" is a pretty good one.
I have a good bit of Alice décor, based on everything from the original Tenniel drawings to much more modern pieces. A friend gave me this poster, in which the image is created from all the text of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
This is one of my favorite drawings from the book (a gift from my husband).
This print is from a Switzer's Bazaar postcard circa 1900-1910.
This poster is a fun modern take on Alice (wearing a Mad Matter's hat) and a White Rabbit made of clouds.
I have this Little Golden Book based on the 1951 Disney movie.
And the 150th anniversary edition of The Annotated Alice, which provides all kinds of fascinating explanation and background for modern audiences. (I also had the original version of The Annotated Alice but I gave it to my sister's family.)
My husband has both books in old editions...he didn't have them as a kid but got them later (he thinks they were in with his grandparents' things).
I have kept this Mad Hatter Tea Party + Winnie the Pooh cartoon from The New Yorker for a long time now...I cut it out of the magazine in 1994! (I took The New Yorker during college, and it was a great source of images to cut out for decorating letters and envelopes I sent to friends and family. Good grief, that feels so last century, right? Cutting paper, attaching it to other paper, and then sending it physically to another person.) My sister had a beloved Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal from when she was really little, so this is kind of a mash-up between a couple of my and my sister's favorites.
I have 3 Alice-themed necklaces: the two DIY paperclip chain necklaces to which I added a carabiner clasp and charms and a White Rabbit pocket watch pendant (which I have set to 5:05 so it's always after 5 o'clock) that I purchased from Walmart.com.
With the release of the Tim Burton Alice movies, Kohls had a few Disney collaborations from which I purchased these four items (plus one T that's been relegated to underlayer status and one blouse that I donated). The Cheshire tank was the feature for my first 30 Wears post on the blog.
And last but certainly not least...a t-shirt knit scarf featuring quotes and drawings from the original Alice books (a gift from my husband).
Thanks for joining me as I shared my obsession with the Marx Brothers and Alice in Wonderland today. Next month's topic is travel...which I'm not doing these days, so I will enjoy the opportunity to revisit some travels in my past!
In the meantime, visit these lovely bloggers as they share about their favorite movies today:
Bettye at Fashion Schlub
Daenel at Living Outside the Stacks
Em at Dust and Doghair
Iris at Iris’ Original Ramblings
Jodie at Jodie’s Touch of Style
Leslie at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After
What is your favorite movie? Have you seen a Marx Brothers movie? Have you seen any of the Alice movies?
Blogs I link up with are listed here.