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Pretty People In Pretty Places

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 17, 2004 8:56PM

In addition to their Annual Christmas Show, the Music Box continues its Cary Grant Centennial Celebration and wraps up its Bergman Directs! series this weekend (What’s with that exclamation point? Does this mean we can expect Bogart Acts! or Janusz Kaminski Cinematographizes! sometime soon?). Both events feature perfect films for those who enjoy romance pictures that are just a little off-kilter.

It's a little known fact that Cary Grant and Grace Kelly were conjoined fraternal twins until just before the filming of To Catch A ThiefFilm censors were always a thorn in the side of Alfred Hitchcock and the stories of his run-ins with them over the violence in pictures like Psycho are well-known. But in To Catch A Thief, it was the romantic overtures of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly that brought him real trouble. Taking full advantage of its lush Riviera setting, the film is full of the kind of witty repartee that was Grant’s stock in trade and it builds to a explosive “climax” with one of the most famous kisses in cinematic history. Whew. Does anyone have a cigarette? The intrigue begins Saturday morning at 11:30 AM.

Romantic entanglements of a more neurotic flavor unfold in the first This is Ingmar Bergman.  He is a better filmmaker than of Saturday night’s Ingmar Bergman double feature: Smiles of a Summer Night. Chicagoist generally avoids situations that might put our current significant other and our ex-SO in the same room together. Then again, we don’t live in turn-of-the-century Sweden where apparently that sort of thing was totally kosher. Fredrik, a well-respected lawyer, brings his young and naïve wife to a play starring his former lover Desiree. As the action shifts to a palatial country estate, a young maid and a handsome well-to-do couple get thrown into the mix and pretty soon things start to resemble an episode of The Real World: Anderslöv. While the film is a great comedy in the vein of Oscar Wilde, this being Bergman there’s also a lot teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling as the characters try to sort out the existential mess they find themselves in. Smiles starts at 7:30 followed by Wild Strawberries at 9:40 which resembles an episode of the old TV show This Is Your Life if it was directed by…well, Ingmar Bergman.

Images: The Music Box