I really hadn’t seen many of Jean Arthur’s movies until fairly recently, and there are still quite a few I haven’t seen, but she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses ever. Her performances have so much intelligence, heart and humor. And of course there’s that funny husky/squeaky voice. She’s not a great beauty, but her characters have so much life and spunk and goodness that you wind up thinking she’s the prettiest girl around. She’s just the best.
On Friday I watched The Devil and Miss Jones, which is one of the movies I most wish would come out on DVD already, and Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take it With You, which I saw for the first time. What a funny, heartwarming gem. Oh Jimmy Stewart, so sweet and young and dreamy. Be still my heart.
My favorite Jean Arthur movies so far…
The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)
If you you have TCM, keep an eye out for this movie. It’s absolutely hilarious and has a good social message, like many of Jean Arthur’s movies seem to. Charles Coburn (just seeing him makes me so darn happy, dear cuddly old man) plays a department store owner bedeviled by union organizers. He goes undercover in the shoe department to try and find out who the troublemakers are and of course ends up making friends with his “co-workers” and having a change of heart.
The More the Merrier (1943)
Due to a wartime housing shortage in Washington, D.C., Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and a matchmaking Charles Coburn wind up as roommates. Very funny movie! Can I say again how much I adore Charles Coburn? One of my all-time favorite character actors. This movie was remade in 1966 as Walk, Don’t Run starring – you guessed it – Cary Grant.
You Can’t Take it With You (1938)
Jean Arthur and her very eccentric family (headed by Lionel Barrymore as Grandpa) win over the hearts of her fiance Jimmy Stewart’s snooty, rich family. Lots of fun, but also leaves you with a lump in your throat when Jimmy’s father, played by Edward Arnold, faces the reality of who he’s become.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
I know everyone’s seen this movie, right? Right. So there’s nothing more to say except aren’t they pretty?
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
My current favorite movie. I can’t stop re-watching it!. Honestly, it’s the sexiest, most romantic, most exciting and entertaining film I’ve seen in a long, long time. Please don’t be a dope like me and wait a zillion years to finally see it! And if you’ve already seen it, please let’s talk about how wonderful it is. I need someone with whom to gush.
The Talk of the Town (1942)
I watched it this weekend and will have a review soon. Jean Arthur and Cary Grant together – it doesn’t get any better than that!