Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hepburn & Grant &... Me?

Speaking as the Jodie half of Lydia Dare - I am not a big fan of chick-flicks, or tear-jerkers, or anything too serious or sad. My mantra has always been – “If I’m paying for entertainment, I want to laugh. I can sit at home and cry for free.” I’ve said it so much, I don’t even need to say it anymore. Friends will talk about some dramatic movie and they’ll look at me and say, “Yeah, yeah, you just want to sit at home and cry for free.” Well, it is cheaper.

Anyway, with that in mind, one of my most favorite things in the world is to watch old movies. And not just any old movies – but the Screwball Comedies of the 30s and 40s. All right – I do love some of the old classics too – Casablanca, Double Indemnity, Citizen Kane, 12 Angry Men – but one can’t really call those movies comedies, and I already own them so watching them is free if I want to cry or feel particularly serious.

I think I’ve somehow gotten off point. Where was I? Oh, yes, those classic comedies. How could I forget?

I could watch It Happened One Night on a weekly basis. I don’t because my son would kill me, but I could. And Bringing Up Baby is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. The same goes for The Lady Eve, The Philadelphia Story, or Arsenic and Old Lace. There was something magical about these films, something that if you watch them, you can feel a bit of the comic genius touch your soul. Or maybe just my soul. Or maybe I just had one too many glasses of wine.

I grew up watching these films with my grandparents. For them it was nostalgic. For me it was a glimpse into another world where people always looked fabulous, they were always witty, they were always good-hearted. It was a fantasy that fit pretty well with the Regency world I created when I started writing. No, the 1930-40’s are not Regency England. But they are similar in feel to me.

Recently I read a review of A Certain Wolfish Charm. Actually, in all honesty, I’ve read them all – but there was one in particular that mentioned the dialogue and how it felt like a Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant film. You can’t even imagine what that did for my ego. Hepburn and Grant! Seriously! I can’t think of a nicer compliment. (Well, a RITA nomination next year would be nice.) But for the time being, I’ll take being compared to one of the most genius parings in celluloid history.

What would be the nicest compliment you could get?


  1. Great post, Lydia! For me, the greatest compliment is: The book is a page turner, couldn't put it down. :)

  2. Great answer, Terry. :) That is a good one.

  3. I don't know about compliments, but I'm off to check Netflix right now to see if I can download those movies-which I've either never seen or forgotten.

  4. Really, Gail? You'll love them.
    It Happened One Night in particular.

    It swept the Oscars in 1934 - Best Picture, Best Actor for Clark Gable, Best Actress for Claudette Colbert, Best Director for Frank Capra, and Best Writing for Robert Riskin.

    This was the first "Screwball Comedy" to hit the silver screen. And after that, everyone was producing them as fast as they could. Hollywood still works in this fashion. ;)

  5. Love those old movies too, and for the same reasons. I adore repartee! It would be quite a compliment to have one's dialogue compared to them.

    And then there's the expression in Tracey's eyes when they are on Hepburn. Talk about melting...

    I agree with Terry. "Page turner" is good to hear, but my favorite compliment is "I loved the characters so much, I hated for the book to end."

  6. Wow, what a great compliment. I am a huge fan of Cary Grant movies and a compliment like that would put me on cloud nine for a long time.

    I am with you on the old movies. I could watch them all afternoon (and have). However, I would pay to cry at An Affair to Remember.

  7. Ahhh. I love Cary Grant.

    Hmm. The nicest compliment--you're a great mom.

  8. There is definitely a Hepburn/Grant chemistry in A CERTAIN WOLFISH CHARM. Knowing that you are a fan of both, adds a special touch to it. I've tried to think of modern actors that could walk behind (not fill the shoes) of Hepburn and Grant, and I can't think of any. I could and have watched Bring Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace over and over again. I also enjoy His Girl Friday even though Hepburn isn't in it.

    Thoughts in Progress

  9. Jodie! I love watching any kind of old movie but especially anything with Clark Gable. As you well know he is my man.
    Greatest compliment? Today at work a lady broke down in our parking lot and asked some of the guys at Auto Zone if they would walk across the parking lot to help her. They refused because it wasn't store policy. Well I was more than happy to take the time to help the lady jump off her car. It's nice to know a woman can help another woman when a man doesn't. What happened to the whole gentleman thing? Chivalry? oh that's right it died out somewhere along the way. So she told me that I was the kindest person for helping her out. And you know I came home feeling really good about myself. Too bad those young guys won't ever get to feel that way.
    Now a compliment on my writing would have to be "couldn't put the book down." I'd love to hear that one, someday. =)

  10. What a lovely compliment to your writing! Congratulations!

  11. Jodi~ I love old movies- screwball comedies especially! Best compliments: "You have fabulous kids" & "I stayed up all night to read your book and then called in sick to finish it."

  12. Greatest compliments have come from readers telling me they had to stay up late finishing my books.

    And using Grant and Hepburn for you is fantastic! Two of my favorite actors. I love Bringing Up Baby!

  13. Just another example of how art influences art, Jodie. I'm a fan of the older movies as well...adore Jimmy Stewart!