Squeezed this month’s in right under the wire. This is the last “F” on my weirdly alphabetized list! And it was super fun! All I knew about the movie before watching was that one iconic scene and the fact that it is set in Hawaii. So I made something I found on the internet called “Hawaiian Dessert” which is very 1950s in that it is constructed out of various premade mixes and definitely not authentically “Hawaiian” at all. But the movie is all about white people so that’s actually probably pretty fitting.
Had I seen this one before?
Nope. Just this:
Top 3 observations on this viewing?
- This is the gayest non-explicitly-gay-themed movie I have ever seen. From the first scene, where three men talk about who is the best boxer and bugler available on base, there is a level of homoerotic subtext that is insane. Apparently, some of this is text in the source novel, but obviously they couldn’t be explicit in a 1953 film, but it’s…not subtle.
Blow, Monty Blow
2. This has an all-star cast. In addition to Lancaster and Kerr, who I knew to expect, there’s Montgomery Clift (whom I have a minor obsession with),Donna Reed (more on her in a bit), Ernest Borgnine (nicknamed “fatso” here even though it’s the thinnest I’ve ever seen him onscreen, and Frank Sinatra. Sinatra actually won an Oscar for this, which allegedly may have been the result of some Mob pressure on Academy members, but also, he does an able enough performance so that may be just a mean rumor.
3. This movie culminated in the Pearl Harbor attacks, but I’ve never seen a “war movie” less interested in the politics, or even mechanics, of war. The Japanese bombers actually feel like an afterthought by the time they arrive. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, the human drama of these men’s lives was compelling enough to me, I almost wish it had ended on December 6th.
What did it beat? Did it deserve to win?
Julius Caesar – Never seen this Marlon Brando vehicle, but I like a Shakespeare adaptation
Roman Holiday – Oh, a classic! I love a love story and this one is a wonderful, messy fairy tale
Shane– Never seen it. It’s a Western I think?
The Robe – Funny story. One time, many years ago, Julia and I went to a bar in Chicago and this was playing on the screens. It took us hours to figure out what movie it was/what could possibly be going on. I remember it looking cheap and ridiculous. I’ve never actually seen it, and honestly don’t plan to, but I’ll have very warm feelings towards it because it will always make me think of giggling all night with one of my favorite people.
Hmmm. The Kathryn Dennett Oscar would probably go to Roman Holiday, but I’m not mad about an Eternity win.
Bechdel Test pass?
Yes. Just under the wire, literally the last scene, Kerr and Reed talk about Hawaii and how they may or may not return.
But, the way Donna Reed’s character is portrayed, makes it hard for me to give this a pass. She’s a woman who is, euphemistically, paid for her time at a private men’s club. Until she is reformed by the love of Montgomery Clift, and suddenly her vampy looks (look how dark her hair is!) are transformed into a more traditional Reed image, white dresses and all.
To be fair, Kerr’s character is given a more complicated back story, but it is rushed through, and so it’s hard to buy her as a real human despite her great chemistry with Lancaster.
But, more importantly, I made a dessert that involved coconut and pineapple, two flavors I really dislike, that I actually enjoyed!
- 1 (regular size) package yellow cake mix
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 3 packages Sugar Free Instant Jello vanilla pudding mix
- 4 cups cold milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (20oz) can crushed pineapple, well drained
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix cake batter, water, oil, and eggs according to package instructions
- Pour into greased 13in x 9in greased baking pan
- Bake 20 min (or what cake box recommends)
- Remove from oven and press down on cake to release air
- Let cool
- In a large bowl, combine pudding mixes, milk, and coconut extract
- Beat for 2 minutes
- Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth
- Stir in pineapple
- Spread over cooled cake
- Whip heavy cream into whipped cream
- Spread over pudding layer
- Sprinkle with toasted coconut
- Place tray in fridge for at least 2 hours (I chilled mine for 22 hours and it was still soft in texture. You can also freeze if you prefer a firmer bar.)