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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Monday, March 1, 2010

Movie Review Monday~ The Clock~ (1945)

Directed By: Vincente Minnelli
Starring: Judy Garland and Robert Walker

Sometimes a movie comes along that immediately becomes a favorite. A little gem that you've never heard of, that slipped past the radar of critically acclaimed classics, and goes down in history as one of the most underrated movies you've seen. The Clock is one of these wonderful little surprises.

Judy Garland and Robert Walker star as the principal characters in this sweet little romance that takes place during two days in Manhattan, close to the end of WWII. Walker is 'Joe', a serviceman on leave for 48 hrs only-a popular premise for films of this time and genre. He is in his own words, very 'green'-a small town boy completely at a loss in this giant city. Alice, herself relatively new to Manhattan, is a cheery secretary who comes to his rescue by offering to show him around a little while after a chance meeting at Grand Central Station. Her sprightly tour of the city, however, evolves into something much more as the hours pass and it becomes evident to both of them that they are falling deeply in love. Over the course of Joe's leave, they begin to face the reality that they must either commit to the relationship in spite of adversity, or never see one another again.

The movie starts out lightly enough, as the innocence of the new found friends moves the story along in a humorous way. However, as the hours progress-even the viewer gets drawn into the sense of urgency that the pair feel when they realize their time together is coming to a rapid end. There is also a solemn anti-war message that lurks beneath the sweetness of the story as the lovers face all sorts of obstacles in their simple desire to be together as long as Joe's sense of duty will allow. Moments of the film are exquisitely crafted, such as one scene in particular in which the couple realizes beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are meant to be together. The scene takes place amid the sound of sirens, in a park after midnight. It is lovingly constructed, zooming in closely on Judy's tearful face and Robert's bobbing Adam's apple with tender effort. And it will wring the heart. Another brilliant scene, in which the couple are being married in an offhand way by a harried justice of the peace who shows absolutely no regard for the solemnity of the occasion, is extremely memorable. A passing train drowns out his words so that the youthful pair are left struggling to maintain their composure in the face of such disrespect.

Minelli's direction is phenomenal and it's unfortunate that his more lavish movie musicals overshadow this one so entirely. The film is beautifully shot in black and white and maintains it's moving sentimentality throughout. Judy Garland has never looked lovelier-you can almost feel Minelli's attraction to her in the way he frames her face. The one flaw, I feel, is the overly melodramatic music that is on occasion much too loud, a common problem w/ romantic movies of this time. But it's easy to overlook.

As far as romantic films go, this far outshines more popular ones such as Sleepless and Seattle or An Affair To Remember. It's just a classic, pure and simple.

My rating: 9/10

Style Factor: Judy Garland sports some adorable hairstyles in this film, worthy of re-creating. Also, take a close look at the extras, especially in Grand Central Station. Movies filmed during Wartime usually had very elaborate hairstyles to enjoy, since film makers didn't want to appear overly extravagant, in the costume department. Therefore clothing was relatively simple and the stylists focused on less expensive aspects of their craft. There's a darling moment when Walker gives Garland an orchid 'to top her off'. He places is in an awkward position on her head and in subsequent scenes, it magically situates itself into a more flattering spot. *hee hee*
Style Score:8


(Tia's) Comfy Place said...

Thanks for the great review! I have been watching a lot of classics lately on the weekends and I am always looking for new material!
I found you on YouTube and I tried my first pin curl set on Saturday and then played around with it. I think it turned out pretty darn good.
I look forward to reading your blog! Have a great week!

Stefanie Valentine said...

This sounds like a really interesting film, thanks for the great review xx

Cheyenne said...

What an excellent review! I've been enjoying all of them, but this one surprised me as "The Clock" is my ALL TIME favorite film! You're definitely right about it not being very well-known. The only people I've ever known that's seen it is some of my fellow Judy fan friends, which really is quite a tragedy! Such a beautiful masterpiece. Anyway, thanks for the review! <3

Miss Hussy Clothing said...

love love love Judy Garland!

jewlover2 said...

Cheyenne, are you familiar w/ pin up model Bernie Dexter? She's the one who told me about this movie! Its one of her favorites as well. My dad brought me up on 'the classics' but I must admit, he was a bit of a snob when it came to watching the less well known films. haha I am starting to discover 'gems' like this that really slipped past the radar. It's one of my faves as well, now.

Lacy said...

I saw this one not too long ago on TCM. It definitely held my interest and I loved it!

vixenoffoxgreen said...

I agree, I discovered this film about 5 years ago and just plain old fell in love-delicious!

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