Anna Campbell

April 2020

The Best of My Favorite Things Part 4 – Great Comedies

I hope you’ve checked out some of my favorite My Favorite Things columns in this quick overview of some of the pieces I’ve written in the last 14 years. Today it’s the turn of some great classic comedies. Who doesn’t love a comedy?

I’m going to start with a real charmer from 1939 that I talk about in my column in July 2014. I went through a real Greta Garbo craze at one stage. Nobody plays a tragic heroine like this spectacular-looking Swede.

But it turns out she’s equally funny in a comedy when she had the right material. If you haven’t seen Nintochka, give it a go. It’s one of my favorite films, and a great romance besides! Here’s the start of my article:

Recently I was channel surfing and I came across Ninotchka, a favorite film that I haven’t watched for ages. I’d missed the first few minutes but I’ve seen this movie so often, that hardly mattered, and I stayed with it until the end so I got all the romance plot. And as you can imagine, that’s my favorite bit! 1939 was a miraculous year in film history. The Oscars, and frankly the box office, were dominated by the classic Gone With The Wind. But other all-time favorites from that year include The Wizard of Oz; Goodbye Mr Chips, probably due for a favorite things column of its own; Love Story, the original An Affair to Remember; and William Wyler’s Wuthering Heights. Read more…

My next choice is a film frequently chosen as the funniest comedy every made. It’s a cross-dressing romantic comedy with elements of a gangster film and a musical added in. If that sounds chaotic, wait until you check out the whole plot! My column on Some Like it Hot appeared in October 2014 and here’s how it started:

It’s always a treat when you accidentally come across a favorite film as you’re channel surfing – and it’s a movie you haven’t seen in forever and you’d forgotten quite how wonderful it is. That happened to me on a recent Sunday afternoon when I was noodling my way through the pay TV channels and I came across Some Like it Hot, just started. I was lucky enough to have time and leisure to settle down and watch it – and I was enchanted anew. Some Like it Hotwas released in 1959. It was directed by Billy Wilder, and Wilder and his long-term collaborator I.A.L. Diamond wrote the sparkling screenplay. There’s a great cast – Marilyn Monroe plays Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, the singer in an all-girl band in the 1920s; Tony Curtis plays Joe, her love interest; Jack Lemmon is absolutely brilliant as Jerry, Joe’s best friend; George Raft is a gangster (what else?); Pat O’Brien is a detective; and Joe E. Brown is brilliant as eccentric millionaire Osgood Fielding III. Read more…

My final great comedy is a personal favorite called How to Steal a Million with Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn. This one sparkles like a diamond and I’ve watched it so often, I know all the dialogue off my heart. If you haven’t seen it, I think you’ll love it. My column appeared in May 2007 and it starts like this:

How To Steal A Million is one of my favorite movies. It never fails to make me smile, silly as it is. But it’s that sophisticated silly like a Shakespeare comedy or a Mozart opera that somehow manages to convey more wisdom in five lighthearted minutes than most tragedies deliver in five tedious hours. What’s not to like? It’s a heist film but a heist film put together with black satin gloves and the sparkle of a diamond bracelet. So yes, there are twists and turns and an amazing robbery sequence and a final revelation that throws all the preceding events into a different light. But it’s all done with the bubble of champagne and the lilt of a waltz set to the verve of the John Williams score. Read more…