Episode 02: Once Upon A Time (1944)

Cary Grant, Janet Blair, James Gleason

Rated N/A

Once Upon A Time

A cash-strapped theater producer promotes a nine-year-old boy's dancing caterpillar.

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Transcript

00:06 [Theme music plays]

00:07 Hi and welcome to lunch time movie critics. I’m Nancy and I’m Wayne. Um, today we’re using our lunchtime lunch break, whatever you want to call it, to talk about the 1944 classic once upon a time starting the one and only Cary grant. Yes, in the opening credits it talks about it’s a fairy tale and they want to pass this yarn to you. And I did kind of think, you know, it was filmed in 1944 where we are in the midst of World War Two, um, hasn’t ended yet. So, you know, this could be a happy fun movie and it is surprisingly surprisingly time. What did you think? I loved it. I thought it was, um, Cary Cary grant in my opinion, is kind of like a caricature of an actor. I mean, he’s, he’s, so everything I’ve ever seen him and he’s so over the top, that’s a great way to describe him.

01:12 He is so over the top in this movie starting with the biggest scrapbook known to man opening scene. So He’s, it almost looks like a scene out of like, um, like a children’s show, right? Where they open the story bucket. It’s like four feet tall. Not Quite. Yeah, no, he’s sitting at his desk. He’s this failing theater owner. They just had a terrible show and he’s reminiscing terrible shows right in a row. Yeah. And he’s reminiscing about the good old days of his theater. And he has this scrapbook that, I don’t know what the dimensions would be, but probably like a foot and half by three feet. Like it is vague. And so he turns this page with like his whole arm. I wish she could see me. Right now I’m making a lot of hand motions.

02:10 So the baking examiner after this show comes in and you know, he’s a good bake examiner. He’s like the theater’s ours. If you don’t give us a hundred grand in a week, any of those like kind of evil laugh, Short, Chubby man that you just are like, oh, you’re not very nice. But Cary grant’s reaction is so Kerry Grant, oh yeah, it was great. Right. He kind of like, he kind of starts creating another show or the, or the premise for another show to this bank manager who gets super interested. Right. And so that’s about six minutes in. And this is the quote that I chose. What does the public need in tough times like these escape and escape through beauty. I hope I did it justice and it was pretty good.

03:10 I had another coat that I pulled out there walking down those spiral stairs that he has in his office. You know, that goes down to like the green room. Yeah. And he says, I get lonely when I can’t hear myself talk. [inaudible] I’m going to that and I’m going to say it just like my Gary Grant, if I can I get lonely if I can to myself talk. Oh goodness. So now he’s outside of his theater and he’s trying to figure out how to save the Flynn theater cause his, the character’s last name is playing. And so he’s polishing the letters and he throws a nickel over his shoulder. And that’s how we’re introduced to Pinky, Pinky Pink, little blonde. So, so I would never fly there. No, no, not at all. Uh, so pinkie has this caterpillar and the poor thing, cause I’m just watching this box get thrown around and I’m like, that’s fine.

04:09 Obviously the boxes, the PRAC and there’s not a real caterpillar in it. Spoiler alert, sorry. We don’t know. We never see it, but you never see the caterpillar, which I’m a little bit disappointed. I never see the caterpillar. But at the same time, like I like a silhouette as a caterpillar, but, right. But you don’t know, this is 1944 animation’s not great. But we do have, you know, some like Walt Disney, they animation, which I want to, I want to talk a little bit about that at the end. Yeah, we’ll get to Disney later. Um, but yeah, I felt bad for the poor little caterpillar being thrown around in a box. And one note I did make is that when he looks through the box, Pinky says that you can watch him dance, you know, and he starts playing his music and caterpillar dances that you can tell Flint is crazy because he gets completely excited about a caterpillar that is dancing. Right. Because I’d be like almost sounds cute, but no, the man is like obsessed the kid, he’s nuts. But obviously this is a fairy tale because seriously selling caterpillar for a fortune, it’s completely unrealistic. Even back then, I don’t know many people who would buy a dancing caterpillar by maybe either Barnum Barnum would have PT burn another good movie, but it’s the side. Sorry. So did you have any notes about that point? Um, of the movie? So one thing I’ve thought thought of was I was thinking of similarities between this movie and other stories. Oh

05:58 yeah. Yeah. So the first one that I get with the whole theater going under was successful. Um, there’s two actually. One is the producers, right? You know, he’s this class thing, that’s great, but now he’s flop after flop and he’s losing everything. Um, number two was seeing the cars. My boys love that man wasn’t even like Eddie Moon or something was the name of the uh, whatever his name was, the coins Ms [inaudible] theater is going under and he doesn’t want me. He was in many ways Kerry grant’s character. Absolutely. Yes. You know, this was filmed obviously in 1944 and singing came out in like what, 2015, something like that. I don’t remember the exact year, but you know, there’s a lot of corresponding things to that movie and this one that we’re discussing. So that’s, that’s all I was going to say is I just noticed all of these, these similarities. I’ll mention another one near the end. Okay. More sense at the end.

07:01 All right. So one thing that I have pointed out is, um, so Flynn is chasing these boys, trying to get this caterpillar and they run into pinkies sister and

07:13 we, we should, we should also mention first that the caterpillar only dances to one song, which is annoying by the end of the movie. What was it called? I don’t remember the name of the soccer. Yes sir. That’s my baby. Right, right, right, right, right. And, and he even asks him like, have you tried other songs? And he’s like, Oh yeah, I’ve tried lots of songs. He only likes this one. So anyway, I’m sorry.

07:36 This is true. So we got, we meet the sister and of course she’s number one in show business and number two, gorgeous. So you’re like, Flynn’s going to end up with her. Like it’s just obvious. Got to a little romance in there. But yeah, she’s in shock and I expected to hear that. You know, she’s in showbusiness so she’s going to try and use that connection to Mr. Flynn to try and build up her career. But obviously he’s such a bad theater owner and producer that she doesn’t even try to do that

08:14 about the movie. Oh, I didn’t even think about that. Might be why she didn’t. Yeah, I kind of did think that’s where it was going and it didn’t make sense and then I didn’t, but it’s okay. Um, so, so there’s point happens where he like, he invites Pinkie to his house, which is basically like a hotel, a hotel rooms. Yeah. That was, that was common back then, I think. Yeah. It’s kind of like a flat. Yeah, exactly. Cause you could afford to pay a lot for a hotel room, I guess. And He, uh, he, he asked the kid what he wants for breakfast and he’s like a hot dog with all of the fixings it, and he says, do you always have that for breakfast? And the kid says no, that’s why I want to have it now.

09:02 Which I thought was really cute. Super innocent and cute. So cute. Yeah. A moke we got to talk about milk. Oh, I really liked milk. Milk is probably my favorite character in this whole movie because he was great. He’s, he’s kind of like Flynn’s moral guide. Right, right. You know, he’s like the, the, uh, he’s the devil and the angel on the shoulder. Yeah. Cricket. Yeah. Or like Jimminy cricket. Yeah. And he’s questionable at like the beginning. You’re like, this guy did some shady stuff, like walking that line the hard. Um, and so like when he first sees the dancing worm, he’s like, all I could see was a worm. He doesn’t have the vision. No. And I, I just really related with Moke at that moment. I’m like yeah, that’s about what I would probably say. Like it’s great. It’s a word and it’s a wiggle n cool. But

10:07 I think at that Point Carrie grants or Jerry Flynn says caterpillars come and go. But this one’s got talent.

10:17 I forgot about that line. Yes. Yes. And so the whole point is that planners trying to buy this caterpillar and he’s using pinky and he’s trying to get his hundred grand to save his theater. So he invites all of the media, all of the newspaper reporters in New York to his apartment to write about this caterpillar [inaudible]. So that was like none of the reporters look in the box. No, none of them take a chance because they’re thinking what I’m thinking, this is really stupid. Sure, sure.

11:00 There is one comment that one of the reporters makes as he’s leaving like about if this caterpillar got in a plane and bombed our enemies, then you’d have a story because it need to say something about that. Something about that.

11:12 Yeah. Cause we are in the middle of a war. So like the newspapers are like, you’re not a war correspondent. Right. What do we, um, so anyway,

11:25 then, you know,

11:28 pinky gets upset because nothing is happening in you. Runs off. And he yells at Mr. Flynn and he goes, this is the wrongest thing you’ve ever done in your life. Was it pinky? You said that yes, this is the wrongest thing you’ve done in your life. He

11:44 says, have you ever done anything wrong or like a question, have you ever done anything wrong? Well this is the wrongest thing you’ve ever done in your life. I couldn’t remember if it was milk or pinky. So no, it was pinky

11:54 and I felt bad for that kid because one, I mean he’s being used and he doesn’t know it cause he’s a sweet innocent child. Right. And Orphan. Orphan too. He’s my sister. Yeah. And so, yeah, he’s an orphan and Mr is trying to use him. Um, but then by chance, you know, because the, since the forties, total luck, this big radio guy who does a show over here is everything and he decides to feature the story. He describes this whole like fairy tale and it makes it sound really incredible. He’s definitely the um, you know, like, I don’t know Rod Serling or I can write [inaudible] who like everybody listens to and he’s, he’s a like a beautiful storyteller, beautiful storyteller with a very nice calming voice. Not like Morgan Freeman level, but it’s really good for the time, especially. Right. And like one of the things that I noticed was the producers face as he’s reading this storyteller like, or sorry, the radio guys is reading this story out loud and he just makes this face.

13:21 Yeah.

13:21 All contorted. Like what is that? Seriously? That’s a great story, Dude. Uh, alright. I guess, yeah, he thought that you could tell he thought this was silly. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. He thought it was silly. But after that radio spot airs, after that story, suddenly the Caterpillar, which by the way is named curly, we haven’t mentioned his name, curly curly becomes this phenomenon and they want to make curly cookies and all this stuff. And in my mind, I’m thinking instead of trying to sell the Caterpillar for a fortune, why don’t you just get paid for curly cookies, merchandise baseballs, right. Merchandising merchandise. Let the flame throw up. Yeah, exactly. Responsible lunch box. Anyway, so that’s what went through my mind. Was it the radio guy who made the comment about Fred Astaire of the insect world? Okay. That’s what I thought. I totally didn’t write that down. Oh, I wish I had. That’s a great note, Fred Astaire of the insect world. Oh, totally. Well, and the other thing up to this point that I noticed and thought was interesting, just stereotypical interesting was the time was,

14:52 did you notice all the police officers were Irish? Oh yeah, no, I had Irish accents, which is not, which is, you know, this common like in the twenties thirties forties whatever, you know, Irish police officers. So wow. I did not, maybe not all of them, but I didn’t notice at least one had an Irish, very thick Irish accent. Interesting. Yeah. No, I didn’t notice that at all. No. Anyway, we’re about halfway through the movie, so we’re going to take a little bit of a break here and there’ll be more after the break.

15:33 Yeah.

15:34 All right. So, uh, halfway through the movie, um, we discussed for the stare of the insect world. Right. And one of the things that I heard after, you know, one of the quotes that I pulled out about 32 minutes in was he has music appreciation, like a real human being. Oh yeah. And I, I did think to myself then why does any like any other songs that’s true. Yeah. To who said that? I don’t remember it. I don’t know. I didn’t make a note of it, but I thought it was great. You’re going to have to watch. I know one thing. Yes. So should we bring up Disney now? Well. So I’m just a couple of other things like at about this point that I noticed is oh yeah, the kid is playing the harmonica throughout the movie and playing that song. I mean not all the time, but he always plays at Samsung and at one point right about the middle of the movie he becomes, I don’t know if John Popper from blues traveler or something and he’s plays more of the song.

16:38 I think they’re like walking out of the hotel room or something and it goes into a little more detail on the side. And I’m like, you could market the kid. The kid is one heck of a harmonica player, you know? Yeah. And obviously he knows more songs cause he tried more songs with curly and dance like jingle bells he mentions. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. Anyway, I thought that was interesting. Yeah. So like this whole movie the whole time I’m watching, I’m thinking there’s so many ways to get out of your little pickle with the bank, right, dude, of course. $100,000 isn’t that what he owed? Yeah. Thousand dollars in 1940 it was probably like 10. Oh Man, I can’t astronomical amounts. Right. So, so the um, you were talking about the curly cookies and stuff. Yes. One, one thing. Um, my partner laughed pretty hard at this was they were painting curly, a cartoon version of curly on the front of one of the fights, one in the cider flames. And she was like, ah. So he became this like American sensation. Right. He’s just, he’s everywhere, including overseas helping us fight the war, the war. Um, so

17:50 yeah, he has a lot of opportunities to capitalize on both curly and pinky. However, the biggest most intriguing thing was that Mr Disney, yes. You Walt Disney wants to buy the dancing caterpillar for $100,000. Not yet. That’s not until the end. Cause he goes like really that much. Nothing you like. The representative for Mr Disney was all pass. So a, so Flynn tells moke that he’s got to sell, he’s got to get curly and sell them, like bring him to Mr Disney or whatever stuff. And he is so overcome with grief over the fact that he has to do this. I love this scene that he gets rip roar and drunk. Oh that was such a good scene. Okay. So I loved milk and he was great. Like we said, he’s probably the best character and such a good actor. This is a really well produced movie. Yeah, I mean really. Sure, sure. You’ve got Cary grant shoes over the top all the time anyway. And the kid is a really good actor and Moke is a really good actor who plays him. I don’t know. Yeah, they are great. And I think this is about the time.

19:22 Okay.

19:22 Oh wait, it’s the argument before he sells it. I wanted to bring that up. [inaudible] Flint. No, between Flynn and pinky sister. So one thing she says that I, I really appreciate it cause she totally saw right through Flynn’s bs is, I can see the beauty in him, but it’s not to be cheapened by a bunch of bally who it belongs to, that little boys world. And I went, oh, you’re right. And I love the word Ballyhoo. Oh yes. Now, so I really want to use it now that’s like, you know, watching these old movies spans your vocabulary about interesting words. Also, she ran with knives and I thought, don’t run with that Jen. That’s true. Chef’s knife to huge knife a. So can I, can I ask cause it, just to refresh my memory. Um, somebody says this miracle has been stepped upon squish squash.

20:25 That’s the professor. Oh, remember they tried it. They want to dissect the caterpillar and you know that, I think it was one of the newspaper guys brought in these professors from this university and they were studying, you know, currently and what makes him dance and music. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, yeah, yes. Squish squash. [inaudible] that was a great, great quote in there. Uh, so yeah, that the professors, while they’re looking at him, they say, extraordinary. Shouldn’t ization do you remember that line there? They’re looking at it and they’re like, hmm. Extraordinary. Chiton ization pinky goes, well, what does that mean? And goes, it means extraordinary to, and ization and I go, what does that mean? Nobody really knows. Nobody knows scientists unless an insect professor. Sure, sure. Um, so yes, the whole time I’m thinking like we’re getting further into the movie and I’m going, well, it’s caterpillar.

21:43 This thing’s got to be a butterfly soon. Right. Like nobody thought of this. Like nobody thought of that. Yeah. So eventually mystery plan agrees to terms with Mr Disney on a hundred grand and Moke as you brought up, is so distraught about stealing curly from pinkie to take to la that he gets plastered like he is before he goes to do the deed. Yes. Taking, taking currently. Yes. Yes. Which obviously hilarity ensues. Yes. Wow. Yeah. And misadventures right. And too like pinky leaves obviously because Moke is so drunk that he passed out like right on pinkies bed and being like, all right, uh, I’m going to leave now and pinky goes home and then they lose. Currently, uh, Mr. Flynn comes and tries to take curly away from pinkie and slaps him and yeah. Yeah. That was, that was, that was rough. That was sad. But his, his face is that faced, every parent makes after they like yell at their kids or speak to a kid or something. They’re like, oh, that was a terrible error. That was exactly cal Flynn’s facelift. Yeah. And you and pinkie tells him you’re a mean man. Classic 1940s yes. I never went to be like you because you are a man, Mr. Flynn. And I was like, yes, yes, yes. Like you’re checking for Pinky this whole time because you just know, right? Like, no, you don’t deserve to save your theater or whatever. You’re, you’re not worthy. And then, and then the line, Yep. This miracle has been stepped upon. Squish squad.

23:47 And then there’s a scene of these nine year old boys, Pinky and fads of drinking coffee. Right. Well, they have a whole like club, but there’s like a whole club, the curly, the curly club. Right, right. But pinky resigns as president of the curly club. Yeah. It goes rascals and goes and gets a drink and coffee. Right. And he says, I’ll make my black and I’m thinking nine year olds drinking coffee. Like I didn’t like coffee until I was, he’s had to grow up a lot in the last, you know, few minutes in the last 30 minutes. Yeah. But the banker, this was just completely unrealistic. And you know, it’s a fairy tale when the banker comes to the theater and says it’s yours.

24:33 Yeah. I want to surprise you, Flynn, I’m giving you yours.

24:38 Uh, no. What bankers really gonna do that like you? You’re telling me I was wrong. No, that’s what happened. That’s what happened. But like, seriously, like that would never happen. Never happen. Like that bank examiner would be fired. Yeah. Like the board would be like, no, that’s our theater now. It’s 1940 is for, yeah. Simpler Times. Right? I guess. Yeah. I don’t know. I thought that was like what? And Mr. Flynn is still just so depressed, even though he got his theater back because he misses Pinky, but the curly club is here to save the day. Right. So they’re all searching for, currently they’re all searching for curly. Right, right. And they have to bring Mr. Flynn and Pinky back together. And so the curly club saves the day forces, Mr. Flynn to go to pinkies house and you can tell, totally tell pinkies sister’s got a crush. Like she’s crushing hardcore. Oh yeah. I missed Mr flight. Yeah. Yeah. For a while. She’s like, yeah, come on in. Okay. So he sits down at the piano and starts playing that song and the butterfly magically appears. What I have in my notes here, animated butterfly because it’s animated. It is. It’s the best animation that 1944 could offer. That’s actually not true. No, no, I’m fine. I’ll tell you in a minute. Oh, oh, oh.

26:10 So yeah. Animated Butterfly.

26:12 Pinky. He’s like, we found girlie. He tells pinkie we found curly and he’s like, where? And there’s this severe look on his face. I know when he goes in like the, the, the, the strings of the piano. Yeah. Yes. So, um, so one of my favorite lines in the whole thing is right at the end when they see the animated butterfly and Flynn says, yes, a butterfly. That’s one of the miracles of life, son.

26:42 Um,

26:45 fantastic. Now that belongs to the world. That’s the other thing is that when he leaves and they’re like, no, he belongs to the world and seen, that’s it. That’s all folks. It’s done. Can pans out. Music plays and the beautiful writing of the end comes up. So, so my, my other thought about the parallels, the school will always remember him. Oh, right. Well yeah, that line. That is the last line that goes along with the, yes. We’ll always remember because this movie, it was very great. It’s a great movie. I loved it. It’s a great movie. I think it’s a, I’m just going to watch it once you oh yeah, yeah. I don’t think I will watch it again. Remember it fondly. Now this one is on Amazon prime, so if you have Amazon prime, you can watch it there. Um, I wanted to say the other movie parallel or story parallel was a Christmas Carol for me.

27:43 Oh, that change, I’d missed Ebeneezer scrooge to like actually really doesn’t care about his theater. He just cares about pinky and you know, and he’s got the sample. Yeah. And he’s got like his jimminy cricket, the Moke, you know, that’s Kinda trying to suggest that he do good, but he’s not like Bob Marley’s train. Yeah. Well I mean like Robert Marley, like I know it’s been a long day already. It’s lunch time on Thursday, last Friday. So, um, so the, the whole, you said animation was the 19th, so I looked this up because I was curious. I was thinking this has to be one of the first times they mixed live action animation. No, no, no. It goes back 20 years before that. No Way. Twenties and thirties. Um, in the 20s, there was a, um, there were these, uh, silent films that had animation and live. Um, yeah, and these in some silent films, I mean Google it, it exists.

28:50 But in the forties, um, the first sort of talkie movie, you know, and I that had animation and live action was you ought to be in pictures, which had this black duck kind of like, um, daffy duck. Okay. And I think he’s trying to, I didn’t, I haven’t seen the movie. I’ve seen it, but I’m, I think he’s trying to get into the movie business. And so he’s got this very sad in the pictures I saw he was this very Sassy, daffy duck kind of on the guy’s desk, like squawking at him, you know. Well, that’s fascinating. No, I thought this was one. It had to be one of the first times. No, and in fact, there’s a gene Kelly movie that has gene Kelly dancing with an animated mouse and that came out after this that came out in Langley. I think that was, oh, I dunno. I saw the date, but I don’t remember now. That came out after this gotta Love Gene Kelly. Yeah, I do like

29:42 his movies. Oh yeah. No, he’s great. A great, I love old movies, so that’s why I thought for my first one. Yeah, it’s gotta be a Corny old movie. Yeah. But you know, it’s really, it is really a sweet movie if you haven’t seen it yet. Obviously it’s available on Amazon prime. And how many Caterpillar’s would you rate this movie? How many caterpillars? Oh, that’s a good one. Out of five. Whatever you want. Sure. Yeah. Um, let’s go three and a quarter. Three and a quarter out of five. Out of five. Wow. Okay. I don’t know. What were you thinking? I would, I would go at least for at least four. I thought it was fantastic. Yeah. It had a lot of heart. It did have a lot of heart. Yeah, it did. I think for me, like the song started to get so irritating that I was like, please don’t play that. And I currently, it would be so much more impressive if he could dance to more than one stuff. Yeah. Yes. No. So that’s why I had to bring it down a little bit because the song is just like so irritating toward the end for me. It is. Yeah. I totally agree. Yeah.

30:52 It is a great movie and well worth the watch. It is.

30:55 Absolutely. Yeah. Well I guess we better get back to work.

30:59 Yeah, probably. All right. O and m our next show is going to be a complete mystery to everyone, including us because our, I’m good friend and a colleague, Colleague Med word, um, it’s not as given name is. Um,

31:15 uh, not,

31:16 he, he was not with us obviously today and um, we haven’t been able to find out what his pick is going to be, so

31:23 pick this time around, so hopefully we’ll find out soon. Yeah. And expect something terrible. Oh yeah. It’s going to be awful. Yeah. But it should be fun. Yeah. All right. So until next time, let’s get back to work.

31:44 [Theme music plays outro].