Monday, December 5, 2011

Clyde’s Movie Palace: A Night to Remember (1958)

Kenneth More
Ronald Allen
Robert Ayres
Honor Blackman
Anthony Bushell
Michael Goodliffe
Kenneth Griffith
Frank Lawton
David McCallum

My first encounter with Titanic came when the 1953 Titanic film starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck ran on the old NBC weekly film showcase, Saturday Night at the Movies. But it was Walter Lord's book A Night to Remember which I read some many years later that actually made my interest in Titanic soar. It was considered at that time to be the Titanic bible.
It was an up close and personal look at everything leading up to the sinking and its aftermath, including facts, minute details, and more importantly interviews with the survivors. But it would be even longer until I would have the chance to view the film version of the book, which was made to set the record straight about the many myths and fallacies depicted in the 1953 film.

Trying to compare A Night to Remember to Cameron's Titanic is something that probably shouldn't be attempted or is even a fair comparison.  But unfortunately, there’s a good number of self proclaimed fans of A Night to Remember, who view the film as nothing more than a tool to beat and bash Cameron’s epic film, and can’t review this film without announcing their disdain for that one from the mountain tops as if one has something to do with the other.   Up until Cameron’s ultra successful film was released, a good portion of those who discovered their instant love for A Night to Remember  had long forgotten about Lord’s book and the film that bears it’s title.  Generally, their review (if you want to call it that) will consist of paragraph after paragraph as to why A Night to Remember is so superior to Cameron’s just totally useless and shitty film, instead of just reviewing A Night to Remember on it’s own merits and leaving Cameron’s film out of it.  But having put up with that horse crap for the past 14 or so years, turnabout is fare play.  But there is a difference between my comparison and theirs.  It really is possible to like both films for what they bring to the table.      

For instance, Cameron had the advantages of a huge budget, and certainly his film benefited in some ways from present day technology and facts that we have learned about Titanic since A Night to Remember was released back in 1958. Cameron benefited greatly from the discovery of the wreck by Robert Ballard and his crew, and by his own expeditions down through the ocean depths to encounter the ship wreckage. Add to that today's computer technology, which has pretty much been able to deconstruct the sinking from the time it hit the iceberg to the time it landed in its final resting place on the Ocean floor, and the advantages Cameron had in that regards become readily apparent.

A Night to Remember is a fairly accurate portrayal of most of the events leading up to and including the sinking of the Titanic as told in Lord's book, but it is not nearly as expansive or filled with the wealth of details that the book was. On film, that would have been impossible to do. A Night to remember is a black and white film and was released almost forty years before James Cameron's epic retelling of the story. Although it doesn't come close technically to Cameron's version, it is a good film in many aspects.

Most of the film is played out as a "You Are There" type of docu-drama where we meet many of the people who were on the ship at the time of its demise. The film centers on Second Officer Lightoller, played by British Actor Kenneth More.
I first came to admire More when he played Jolyon in The Forsyte Saga way back in the late sixties when PBS aired it here in the states as the opening salvo in what would later become Masterpiece Theater. More is the kind of actor that no matter what role he is playing, you can instantly identify with him or the character he is playing just because he always seemed so damn likable.

But since A Night to Remember is a British film, I will be careful not to belittle one of our allies cinematic accomplishments. I won't do that because I learned an important lesson in the first few minutes of A Night to Remember. As Lightoller and his wife Sylvia are on a train headed to Belfast, he is reading a soap ad from a magazine proudly proclaiming itself as the official Titanic soap. Lightoller ends the reading by jesting "for first class only of course, the rest of the passengers don't bathe." At which point a stuffed shirt sitting in the same compartment admonishes Lightoller and his wife for mocking England’s crowning achievement, The Titanic.

Lightoller's wife is more than happy to inform Mr. Stuffed Shirt that they quite agree as her husband is headed to join the Titanic as the ship's second officer. It's a brief scene, but it is one that accomplishes quite a bit. We learn that indeed, there is a class distinction in which the Upper Class is seen as civilized and everybody else are unwashed cretins. We also discover that there is a strong belief that the unsinkable Titanic is a symbol of man's greatest accomplishments and demonstrative of his final victory over nature and the elements.

We quickly jump off the train so that we can join Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in progress. The stay is brief but it is just long enough for us to bear witness to their overly pampered lifestyle of the upper crust and their total disdain for anything and anyone beneath their station in life. This includes watching a group of workhouse orphans standing by the side of the road waving goodbye.

"What are they doing," the woman asks.
"Assuring themselves of their Christmas turkey," the man replies.

After a meet and greet with Captain Smith (Laurence Naismith), Thomas Andrews and Chairman Bruce Ismay (Frank Lawton) we watch as Titanic sets sails. Director Roy Baker and Screenwriter Eric Ambler don't spend time letting grass grown under the bough as we jump immediately to the fateful day of the sinking on April 14.

We spend a bit of time watching the first class passengers dine and then hop downstairs as the steerage passenger’s party in the lower decks. Director Baker doesn't linger with either group, but stays just long enough to let us understand that in 1912, just like in 2011 there are the haves and have nots.

We had already seen earlier the disdain that the upper crust has for the less fortunate, but it is a scene that is unfortunately not followed up on here, although one gets the feeling that those in steerage don't hold it against the aristocrats for their lot in life. It's as if class distinction is just the way life is meant to be. Or at least that is what the writer and director would have us believe initially.

We are then whisked away so that we can meet Molly Brown (Tucker McGuire) as she is retelling the story of how her and her husband had struck it rich. But again, we are not privileged to know whether or not those she is having dinner with view the fact that she wasn't born into their station in life as something to look disdainfully down through with their noses.

Baker prefers instead to concentrate on the missed communications regarding ice and icebergs between Titanic and other ships in the area, particularly the infamous Californian. Captain Smith acknowledges the first two telegrams regarding the ice with the comment that "they'll keep a sharp eye." When more telegrams arrive over the wireless, they are accidentally discarded instead of being delivered to Smith or one of the other officers.

It's kind of odd to watch as the Californian does it's best to inform the Titanic of the ice fields, and yet later would become the goat of the disaster by not recognizing that the Titanic was in distress when it was within visual range of those keeping watch. Worse yet, when the Californian tries to send a final warning, the wireless operator on the Titanic tells them to butt out while they send the all important greetings home for the passengers.

When the collision does come, it is over almost as quickly as it happens. We see the Titanic shake a bit, we watch as ice falls onto the ship, and we watch as some of the crew escape from the flooding engine rooms before the water tight doors close behind them.

Afterwards there seems to be no sense of urgency among anybody. The passengers are told there is nothing to worry about, and even the crewmen who continue to stroke the fires as they stand in water up to their thighs aren't sure there is anything to stress over. When one of the stewards is questioned by a passenger, he simply tells them that the reason the ship stopped is so that in case of an iceberg they wouldn't want to have to run over top of it as if the unsinkable ship could do such a thing.

Even as Andrews relates to the Captain that the ship will indeed sink, everything seems to be taking place in a calm orderly matter of fact manner. Amazingly, even as Smith is giving out assignments to get the passengers off of the ship there is no sense of urgency despite the fact that Andrews had just related that there was only an hour and a half left before the ship would sink.

In the first class cabins the stewards knock until the doors are opened and go inside each compartment to pull down the life jackets. In the lower decks they knock, yell for the passengers to put on their life jackets and quickly move on. Making matters worse is the fact that many of those in steerage speak little or no English.

When it comes to getting on the lifeboats to escape, Director Baker pulls no punches with the first class passengers as he seemed to do earlier. Here they are shown for the spoiled overindulged pompous jackasses that they were.

Crew member: Will you kindly step into the boat ma'am?
Woman: What? And catch my death of cold?
Woman: This boat is too small. I can't be comfortable in a boat such as this.

And to top it off, many of them descend on the ship's purser to get their jewelry and valuables out of the safe before heading for the lifeboats. I say they should have let them drink salt water.

The steerage passengers are left to find their own escape. We follow one group who finally makes it to the first class dining room and upon entering, stand almost in awe of its stunning opulence. They are like a child seeing the Magic Kingdom at Disney World on their very first visit.

Although the Californian ignores the distress calls of the Titanic, further away an alert radio man aboard the Carpathia recognizes the SOS, awakens the Captain who then orders his ship to turn around at full speed through dangerous ice fields in a heroic effort to make it to the Titanic. Also heroic are the workers below deck of the Titanic, doing their best to not only keep the ship afloat but to keep the generators cranking out power as long as possible.

Like I mentioned before, Night is almost a documentary retelling of the Titanic film while Cameron used a fictional story as a backdrop for his Titanic. It's hard to argue with either choice, as both methods work well for what they want to accomplish. The main difference is that in Night, because of its style, it is much more difficult to become as emotionally involved in what is going on. We see lots of different stories about why the ship sank, but the story of the passengers and what they went through is not delved into as deeply as in Cameron's film. Some may nit pick Cameron's love story, but by focusing on it, he enables us to know the passengers better through Jack and Rose, the people they associate with be they friends or enemies.   Night, by virtue of it’s documentary styling,  jumps around from story to story and has to crowd an awful lot into a running time of just over two hours.

Don't get me wrong, there are moments that you'll be effected by in Night, but they are much fewer and lack the dramatic impetus that they should have had because Director Baker chose not to focus on the human element, and instead decided that basically filming a checklist of events from Lord’s book was the way to go.

We see the passengers, we know who they are, what they are about, we know the class system that was in effect, but we never really can relate to them on a personal one to one level. Surely we feel for their tragedy, but no more or no less than we did when we watched the three part documentary that ran on A&E several years ago.  You find out more about Olympic athletes in an Up Close and Personal segment than we do about the passengers on the Titanic in this film.

On the other hand, A Night to Remember, gives us more details of certain events that are left out of Titanic. Mainly, the Californian and Carpathia story was hardly touched on in Cameron's film. Cameron explained this in later interviews saying that by taking the film away from the events happening on the ship, it would perhaps make the film lose its focus on the story he had to tell. He wanted us to concentrate almost entirely on the human tragedy and not be distracted from it by wandering needlessly around the ship. And for what he was trying to do and the success that he had one certainly can't argue with him for that.

There are a lot of small but memorable scenes in A Night to Remember. A woman returns for her lucky pig while leaving her jewelry behind, a shady gambler who shows more class than those he was winning money from, a drunken crewman throwing chairs overboard for passengers to float on, and a heart breaking scene where an elder gentleman tries to comfort a young child who lost his mother. Certainly there will be some scenes that you'll quickly recognize if you've seen Cameron's film including Thomas Andrews telling a young couple what to do when the ship sinks, just as he did for Rose in Cameron's film. But if Baker wanted to have a greater emotional impact, perhaps he should have centered his story telling on just a few of the real life passengers, have them intermingle as Rose and Jack did, and worked from there.

The fact that most of the lifeboats did not attempt to rescue anyone, was portrayed much more dramatically in Titanic. This films show us their last moments in the water, but it is sanitized to a at least some degree. When a boat finally does return, there is not a mass of frozen bodies for it to float through in order to execute a rescue.

Night does examine the fact that several of the early lifeboats that were lowered into the water with far less than capacity and that if you were a guy and went to the other side of the ship your chances of being in a lifeboat increased ten fold. In fact, the point is touched upon in the beginning of this film that the lifeboats could have carried 1200 but as you know, just over 700 were saved. But it certainly was an issue that could have been covered more in depth in both films.

Another major difference in Night is that we get a captain who is more a victim of circumstances than anything else. In Titanic, Cameron portrays him more as a bumbling fool, who made too many mistakes and compounded the tragedy with his inability to take charge even to give a simple order to evacuate passengers. Whose portrayal is more accurate? That is something we may never know except for this: The fact that many lifeboats were launched half full and the fact that it took so long to begin loading the passengers, would leave me to believe that Captain Smith was totally inadequate in a crisis situation. And although not getting the final ice warnings were not entirely his fault, his actions and reactions to the ones he did receive left something to be desired.

It’s hard to say much about the acting here, because so much of it is unimportant as to what is happening on the screen since most of the cast, except for the Captain, Lightoller, and the rest of the crew, have only brief scenes. The passengers remain an enigma. But you may watch for David McCallum as a telegraph operator. Most of you know him as Dr. Donald Mallard from NCIS. I know him better as Illya Kuryakin of The Man From Uncle.

I will not even compare the technical aspects as obviously, Cameron's film would come out way ahead because as I said earlier it was filmed forty years later. With what they had to work with, A Night to Remember does well to recreate the ship and the sinking, along with the many reasons for it. But though the film is certainly worth watching for many reasons, I can't help but feel that although Roy Bakers direction gets the job done and is workmanlike, for a film of this subject matter and this much intensity it lacks imagination in the way many of the scenes are filmed and framed. 

Despite that, and the fact that certain aspects don't hold up well, the film should be viewed if you have never seen it before. It fills in the gaps and provides much information that you may not have know about previously and it offers it up in a very engrossing narrative that draws you in from the very opening scenes. And when a film does that, any film, I have no choice but to give it my grade which for A Night to Remember is an unsinkable B+.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Clyde’s Movie Palace: The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)

The Lemon Drop Kid
Directed by Sidney Lanfield
Written by Frank Tashlin
Based On a Story by Damon Runyon
Bob Hope
Marilyn Maxwell
Lloyd Nolan
Jane Darwell
Fred Clark
Jay C. Flippen
William Frawley

I have often lamented about the fact that today’s young film audiences seem to want little to do with any film not made in the past ten or fifteen years.  Anything else is considered ancient history, left for us old folks to reminisce over.  I suppose I shouldn’t gripe too much, seeing as how when I was young, I pretty much didn’t care for reading the classics, until I actually tried opening the cover and seeing what was being offered up inside.  But it’s a lot more difficult to spend a few days reading a 500 page or more tome by Charles Dickens or Nathaniel Hawthorne than sitting in front of a television screen to be entertained for a couple of hours.

But there are signs of hope.  My Honorable Son Number Two at the ripe old age of 23 years young, has begun delving into our honored cinematic past watching films such as Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and West Side Story.  He recently sent me a copy of Casablanca on blu-ray, something unexpected but totally appreciated especially when my only copy was some crappy DVD I recorded off of Turner Classic Movies.  So maybe I’m rubbing off on him or maybe he has, like so many others, found out that film age has little to do with quality of entertainment. 

On the other hand, one of my other sons, Honorable No. 3, has gone in the other direction.  When he first arrived out here in Sunny California Land, we would watch a film together a few nights a week, even some of the classics.  He seemed to like a few of them.  But due to circumstances putting a crimp in our viewing habits, he has pretty much given up on the likes of John Wayne, Ray Milland, and Jimmy Stewart, and his time is now consumed with work, Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V, and beta testing Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic. 

I’m not sure what any of my three sons would think about The Lemon Drop Kid.  I’ve seen the film a few dozen times over the years, and probably know it far too well.  By that I mean that I can appreciate it, but it doesn’t really make me laugh like it once did back when I was ten, eleven, or thirty-five.  In those days we had three channels that we pulled in with a set of rabbit ears, and every Holiday season, just before Christmas, and especially on Christmas Eve, every movie that featured Santa Claus, Christmas, Scrooge, Angels, Nuns, and Priests , were dragged out for the Late Show because Johnny Carson was usually gone for the holidays.
Kid may have aging problems, but it deserves a better fate than it has received over the years, and this comes from someone who is not entirely enamored of Bob Hope Movies.  Unlike films like Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life, you seldom hear it mentioned at Christmas time.  Of course it doesn’t have the benefit of having a young Natalie Wood in the cast, and unlike Wonderful Life, it didn’t spend 15 years in the public domain enabling every local station and cable network in the world to run it every hour on the hour for about ten years.  What a game changer that  was for Frank Capra's ode to the Holidays.  I remember that even the Home Shopping Network got into the act one year, running it for twenty four hours straight instead of selling another set of Ginsu Knives. It was for the most part, a forgotten film up until then at which time somebody sniffed profit and it was snatched  out of public domain by the usual greedy bunch that rule the world.

Based on a short story by Damon Runyon, we begin on a warm sunny day at a racetrack in Florida as Sidney Milburn (Bob Hope), better known as The Lemon Drop Kid (so called because he is always popping lemon candy drops into his mouth) is busy touting horses. He convinces anybody that he can  to bet on a certain horse because he has the inside information and thus knows who is going to win before the race is even run.  Those who are convinced he is on the level, promise to pay The Kid off when the horse crosses the finish line.   By convincing enough suckers to bet until he has covered each horse in a given race, The Kid comes out ahead  no matter how the horses finish.

The Kid makes the mistake of convincing gangster Moose Moran’s (Fred Clark) girlfriend to bet $2000 on a different horse than the one she was sent to wager on.   That horse, Lightning Streak, loses.   The horse Moran had sent  her to bet on, Iron Bar, wins, which  puts The Kid in debt to Moran to the tune of about $10,000, the amount Moran would have gone home from the race track with.   Having no other choice, The Kid tries to get himself arrested.  Unfortunately the only two cops around are ones had snookered into a bad bet once before.

Before he can escape from his hotel, The Kid is apprehended by Moran’s Men and taken to face Moose who wants either his money, or The Kid’s hide.

The Kid convinces Moran that since it is the holidays, it would be better for Moran if he could find a way to pay the money back instead of paying with a few pounds of flesh.  So Moran gives The Kid until Christmas Day to come up with the ten grand and if he doesn’t, Sam the Surgeon (Harry Bellaver) will extract it from him piece by piece.

The Kid heads northward to New York City with nothing but  the shirt on his back and where there is a full blown blizzard in progress. He runs into an elderly “old doll”  by the name of Nellie Thursday (Jane Darwell).

He can’t borrow the money from her because she is about to be evicted at the same time that her husband, Henry (Francis Pierlot), is due out on parole.  Besides that, Nellie was hoping The Kid would pay her the money he already owed her.

The Kid then looks up his old girlfriend, Brainy Baxter (Marilyn Maxwell) that he had jilted once before while having absconded with her fur coat that he pawned for cash.  Although Brainy does her best to eschew his advances, The Kid suckers her once again, something she realizes when he tells her he is going to the Marriage License Bureau and heads there alone.  Obviously she got stuck with the “Brainy” moniker out of heavy sarcasm and not as a descriptive adjective.

The Kid schemes to make a deal with another gangster, Oxford Charley (Lloyd Nolan) and is quickly ushered out the door.  After seeing a street corner Santa taking in a wad of dough, The Kid decides to set himself up in the charity collection business in order to round up some money for his own favorite charity.

That would be himself of course,  and saving himself from the wrath of Moose Moran and his Family Physician.  He even puts a “Save a Life” tag on his collection pot.

It isn’t long before The Kid is arrested for pan handling and collecting for charity without a license.  In court the judge sentences him to ten dollars, which The Kid doesn’t have, or ten days, which The Kid can’t afford to serve.  As he is leaving the court, The Kid bumps into Nellie once again, who has been arrested for trying to retrieve her personal belongs from the apartment that her landlord (Victor Killian) had locked her out of.  No landlord/tenant laws in those days. 

The Kid uses his one phone call to plead with Brainy to bail him out but she gives him the brush off and he is carted off to jail.  But Brainy has second thoughts, and borrows the money from her boss, the aforementioned Oxford Charley, to bail him out with the intention that she won’t let him out of her sight until they say their “I do’s”.  Of course, you’ll be trying to figure out what the big attraction is that she can’t live without such a self-centered con artist, but I guess we just have to accept the fact that love conquers all.

Before that can happen, The Kid enlists Brainy into his latest scheme.  He’ll set up a legitimate charity, get a license and collect donations legally.  The donations will be enlisted to run a retirement home for Nellie and other “old dolls” who have no other place to go since their husbands have either died or are serving long sentences in the penitentiary.  The home will actually be Moose Moran’s old gambling joint which is temporarily out of commission after having been shut down by the law.  It will of course be called, “The Nellie Thursday Home for Old Dolls.”  Would any other name suffice?

What The Kid doesn’t tell Brainy, Nellie, his friends, or the other old dolls is that not only does Moose not know they are using his gambling joint as an old folks home,  but when Christmas Day arrives The Kid will use all the cash collected to pay off his debt to Moran, and the Old Dolls will all be out on the street.  I mean, why should it matter?  It’s not like The Kid has ever really cared about anybody but himself anyway.

But there are problems on the way.  Oxford Charley finds out about the Kid’s scheme, and plots to take over The Nellie Thursday Home for Old Dolls by kidnapping Nellie and the other old ladies.  His reasoning is that wherever Nellie is, that’s where the Nellie Thursday Home is.

In most Bob Hope films of this type, you’re going to get more than your share of slapstick, sight gags, and one liners and The Lemon Drop Kid is no exception.  There are plenty of one liners, and you’ll probably have to watch the film a second or third time to catch all of them.  Not that they will have you rolling in the aisles in hysterics, there are just as many misses as there are hits, but those that hit the mark kind of make you forget about the ones that fall flat.

The sight gags are another matter.  It’s not that some of them aren’t funny, but it is here that the film shows it’s age.  Many of these moments depend on good special effects or at the very least, believable execution.  But even for 1951 I’m not sure the ones here are up to snuff. 

For example, in one scene when the Old Dolls have bedded down on the gambling tables for the night, The Kid throws a switch which causes the tables to spin around and out of sight.  When the switch shorts out, and everything goes haywire, the effects amount to repeating the same few seconds of film over and over and then running it in reverse over and over.  In another scene, when The Kid is riding a bicycle through a building, the use of a backdrop for the whole sequence is glaringly, painfully obvious.  This is passable if you’re outdoors, but when the scene takes place indoors, it’s just idiotic not to have made more of an effort to get it right.   One can only surmise that the film was made on the cheap or they couldn’t find a stunt double with a nose that resembled Hope’s.

Bob Hope does a decent job here although far from being his best effort. He manages to make The Kid  likable despite being terribly despicable, sort of like Gru in Despicable Me.  The problem is that when his redemption does come, and you know it’s coming because this isn’t a Shakespearean Tragedy, it doesn’t come for any reason in particular or by any event that has made him seen the light other than the fact that Brainy, Nellie, and everybody else now want nothing to do with him.  That would be fine except that same scenario was true when the film began, and it never seemed to bother The Kid much.

Marilyn Maxwell is likable, pretty, and pleasant as Brainy, and probably the only character who seems to be pure of heart.  But that only serves to leave us scratching our head at her infatuation with The Kid and why she works for a mobster like Oxford Charley.

What helps to lift The Lemon Drop Kid up a notch up from just being run of the mill is the great supporting cast of character actors. Jane Darwell is perfect as Nellie Thursday, the “old doll” who is looking for a place to live before her husband is released from prison. You may remember Darwell as having touchingly played the bird woman in Mary Poppins. This film really showcases her talents to an even greater extent. 

Lloyd Nolan is seriously creepy as Oxford Charley as is Fred Clark as Moose. But the biggest scene stealer of all though is William "Fred Mertz" Frawley. Nothing tops Frawley standing on a street corner as Santa singing Silver Bells like it’s never been sung before or since.


Speaking of Silver Bells, this famous Christmas Song makes it’s first on screen appearance with a nice pleasant duet by Hope and Maxwell as they walk the streets of New York.  According to the IMDB, the movie was filmed in 1950, although released in March 1951.  That’s studio logic for you.  I can imagine it just this way:

What have we got in the can ready to go? 
We got this Christmas type movie with Bob Hope waiting for release. 
Fine, we’ll release it in the spring.

Go figure.  So Bing Crosby released the song in the winter of 1950, getting a hit out of it, and Hope and Maxwell were called back to the studio to give it a little more zing for it’s film release just in time for Easter.  But all you have to do is click the play button, courtesy of yours truly.  How this clip has survived on you tube for this long is in itself a Christmas Miracle.  I surely thought it would have been recalled long ago.  It’s been at least three years since I uploaded it, maybe longer.  And I did it for this review which I began writing back then, put it in a draft folder and forgot it existed.  And here I am complaining about Hollywood studio logic.

Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, and William Frawley join the citizens of New York for a rousing chorus of Silver Bells.

So how do you watch this film?  Well, there’s no special sixtieth anniversary blu-ray out there, or no cleaned up spiffy colorized version.   But you can see it with just a little effort.  Netflix, as it seems to be happening more and more these days is a dead end.  So forget that.  They simply are not replenishing their DVD library and as discs get damaged and lost they are not being replaced and it’s not in their limited streaming library.  You can buy the film from either Amazon, or Shout Factory.  You can also buy a digital copy from Amazon.  The good news though is that you if you have Amazon Prime, you can currently watch it for free because unlike Netflix it is in their library.  Here comes the commercial:  If you don’t have Amazon Prime, with two day delivery, free movies, and free books for your Kindle, now might be the time to start thinking about it.  End of commercial.

Now having said all of  that, I can say that  if you’ve never seen this film and you’re a Christmassy type of person, you could do a lot worse than The Lemon Drop Kid.  You’ll find just enough laughs, and it has just enough Holiday sentiments to get by, and if a film can do well to get by I have no choice but to stuff a grade of C+ into it’s stocking and yours.