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Tag Archives: Christopher Plummer

The Silent Partner

Image Credit: The Silent Partner, 1978

If you’re burned out by the sentimentality and commercialization of Christmas, have I got a movie for you. The Silent Partner (Disc/Download) is an unexpected holiday find, though a fantastic one. Nothing like a little Santa bank heist to put me in the yuletide spirit!

With a screenplay by Curtis Hanson, I knew I was in for a twisty, suspenseful good time. What I didn’t expect was how dark this movie would ultimately turn out to be, like a mashup between Hitchcock and Argento. Elliott Gould plays a bank teller with a dead-end love life who stumbles onto a mall Santa’s plot to rob his local branch. In an effort to finance his exotic fish collection (yes, you read that right), he starts secretly stashing money from the bank’s till before the impending robbery occurs. When the crime actually happens, St. Nick (Christopher Plummer) walks off with a little bit of money, while Gould ends up with the real fortune. However, this mild-mannered everyman didn’t bet on Santa being a twisted sadist who will stop at nothing to get his rightful share. I won’t spoil all the surprises this movie has to offer, but let’s just say Capt. Von Trapp looks great in panty hose.

Although The Silent Partner is an extremely suspenseful movie, rest assured there are a lot of fun, campy moments too. Boobs abound in this 1970s bra-free wonderland, under everything from cheeky t-shirts (my favorite: “Penalty For Early Withdrawal”), to slinky cocktail dresses. Elliott Gould’s character is perpetually horny, but I really can’t blame him. These bankers like to party, and things get a little loose. This holiday season, let’s toast a bygone era with this Blowfish cocktail.

Blowfish

2 oz Canadian Whiskey

1 oz Lemon Juice

½ oz Crème de Cassis

½ oz Simple Syrup

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice.  Shake until chilled, then strain into a tumbler with a large ice ball.

I love the Toronto location of this movie because we rarely get to watch a film shot in Canada that’s actually set in Canada. As it turns out, our neighbors to the north have a lot to offer. That list includes (but is not limited to) John Candy, funny Monopoly-looking money, and a really bizarre take on Christmas.  Cheers!

Somewhere in Time

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Somewhere in Time

Image Credit: Somewhere in Time, 1980.

Of all the movies I was supposed to see at TCMFF2020, I was most excited for Somewhere in Time (Disc/Download). An underappreciated romance starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, it can best be described as Outlander-meets-Anne of Green Gables, with a dash of Moulin Rouge. Set in Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel, watching this makes me feel like I just took a trip somewhere fabulous without having to leave my living room.

More often than not, cinema time travel happens through some sort of gadget or external magic. But in Somewhere in Time, time travel is a mental state. Christopher Reeve’s character Richard Collier hypnotizes himself into believing he’s going from 1980 back to 1912. Why does he do this? Because he knows he’s been there before. When he sees a picture of a radiant Jane Seymour’s Elise McKenna, he can’t shake the feeling that this once-famous actress was someone special to him. Then he realizes she’s the same old woman who gave him a pocket watch in 1972; a watch that he would give back to her in 1912. This sets off a chicken-and-egg paradox in my mind of who actually had the watch first, for it can’t exist in the past without first existing in the present (and round and round we go). In many ways it’s a reflection of their love, traveling through time, unchanged and constant.

As mentioned, the Grand Hotel of Mackinac Island plays a central role. Because the island allows no motor vehicles even to this day, it’s the perfect location to set a story from the past. I can almost imagine myself in a wicker chair on the hotel’s wide veranda; sipping cocktails and watching the horse-drawn carriages go by. Hypnotize yourself into thinking you’re relaxing at a luxury hotel with this Grand Tonic. (hey, it’s worth a shot!)

Grand Tonic

1 1/2 oz Grand Marnier

3/4 oz Tonic Syrup (I used Bradley’s Kina Tonic, with notes of spiced orange).

Club Soda

Orange slice

Strawberry slices

Fill a glass with ice, and pour in a shot of Grand Marnier. Top with tonic syrup and club soda, and stir gently to combine. Garnish with orange and strawberry slices.

Grand Tonic

Christopher Reeve plays a dashing hero who puts himself through hell to reach the love of his life, and it makes me a little sad that he didn’t have the chance for a lengthy career of roles like this. Knowing what we do now about his tragic injury, it makes Somewhere in Time feel even more urgent. Richard, and Christopher, are both running out of time. It’s up to us movie fans to give them more of it. Cheers!

The Sound of Music

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Image credit 20th Century Fox, 1965, The Sound of Music

Image credit 20th Century Fox, 1965, The Sound of Music

There has been a lot of media attention lately over the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music (DVD/Download). That’s all the excuse I need to watch Julie Andrews frolic through the Austrian alps with a ragtag group of drapery-wearing children. The Sound of Music is a great film for springtime, and as I drive past fields of Texas bluebonnets, I can’t help wanting to pull over and burst into “The Hills are Alive.” Thankfully, I don’t (you’re welcome, Texas).  Only Julie Andrews and apparently Lady Gaga can pull this off.

The Sound of Music is about a nun-in-training who becomes the governess for a wealthy Austrian family just before WWII. The Von Trapp children lost their mother years ago, and their widowed father is a harsh disciplinarian. Since Julie Andrews is so good at handling precocious wealthy children, she plays the governess Maria. She teaches the kids to have fun, sing, dance, and melt their father’s heart. Captain Von Trapp is played by Christopher Plummer, and his secret attraction to Maria makes him pretty dreamy. Catchy songs by Rogers and Hammerstein make this a fun movie to watch, despite the creepy puppet show about 90 minutes in, and Maria’s heinous outfits. Thank heavens Captain Von Trapp briefly dates someone with style, the Baroness Schraeder. She gets a bad rap, wanting to send the kids to boarding school, but I actually really love this character. She wears gorgeous clothes, hosts fabulous parties, gets to date Captain Von Trapp, and is terrible at sports. A lady after my own heart.

We first meet The Baroness when she arrives in Salzburg with “Uncle Max”. He is the original cool uncle, and certainly no stranger to a cocktail. Unfortunately his good times are shattered when The Baroness serves him pink lemonade on the veranda. Just… lemonade. Max deserves better, so in his honor, while watching The Sound of Music, I recommend drinking a Pink Parasol.

Pink Parasol

2 oz Pink Lemonade

2 oz Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka

Club Soda

Build drink over ice, stirring gently before topping with club soda. Garnish with a pink parasol. I wonder if Marta ever got hers??

pink parasol

It’s hard to pick a favorite song in this stellar musical. “My Favorite Things”? “Edelweiss”?? “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”??? GAH- there are so many!! This movie makes me want to go to Salzburg and celebrate them all. Except the creepy puppet song- I can skip the yodeling.  Cheers!