Triple feature: Now that the balance of power has definitively shifted in favor of warm weather, here are three sunny, breezy, lavishly colorful films to celebrate spring’s arrival.
“That Funny Feeling,” “The Parent Trap,” and “Pillow Talk” are mid-century comedies of virtue. All three conceive of romance as a battle for which participants must gird themselves, and in which creatively deployed guile, and energetically perpetuated deceit, are excusable means to a conventionally-desired end.
Beneath their impeccably decorated exteriors – and they are impeccable enough to excuse the banal situations occurring around them – each of these films harbors an interesting mixture of escapist wish fulfillment and hard-boiled pragmatism. With a firm belief in their own unimpeachability, their button-nosed heroines use coincidences as opportunities to actuate what the less plucky only fantasize about. (Strategically-timed singing helps seal the deal of realization.)
Perhaps most compellingly, all of these films make us consider the degree to which everyone related to them – filmmakers, characters, and original audience – are in on the “joke” of antiquated virtue in a mid-century modern world. All three films wink at us on multiple levels: it’s up to us to recognize these winks and return them.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “Henrico Prins,” “Pewari,” and “ReeseCLloyd” at Flickr)