Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When is a woman like a piano?

Posted by Christine

Why, when she’s Eleanor Parker in a movie aptly titled The Naked Jungle, that's when.

Okay, about that title. Naked Jungle? Huh? Suffice to say it is—naked—by the end. You’ll have to rent it and watch it to find out how that happens. Susan, don’t you tell them.

Yes, it’s true. Susan loves this movie as much as I do. And that’s a lot.

Where was I? Oh, yeah…

Nobody else—aside from the jungle, I mean—gets naked in this movie. Not Charlton Heston, who was quite the heartthrob back in the day. And certainly not Eleanor Parker. Though she does wear some really cool negligees—clingy and white, with lots of ruffles. Oh, and Charlton goes shirtless now and then, as I recall. He looked really good shirtless, too, if I might say…

I’ve read a number of reviews on this movie and they all remark on how it’s a solid adventure story cloaked in a “rather ordinary” romance.

Oh, those reviewers. They so don’t get it. What this movie’s got and got in abundance, is tension. Heat. Passion. Heston seethes. Parker…palpitates. It’s delicious. Yeah, okay. It’s perhaps a little over the top when judged by picky contemporary sensibilities.

But you know what? Let’s hear it for over-the-top.

Simply put, this is a mail-order bride story. Christopher Leiningen (Heston) has carved a paradise out of the wild, untamable jungle and everything he has in his own personal paradise is brand-new. His piano. His mansion/fortress and all the cool stuff inside.

Christopher, who came to the jungle at 19, is now 34 and has zero knowledge of women (Read: virgin hero, oh yes!) wants a wife. Enter Joanna, his mail-order bride. She’s supposed to be as “new” as all his other possessions. ...

(Spoiler alert. If you do plan to rent this and you don't want to know the plot ahead of time, skip down to the questions in bold at the end.)

For the rest of you, what no one has told Christopher is that Joanna’s a widow (Read: not “new,” but “used.”)

Of course, he’s going to send her back. Even though it’s obvious from the first moment he sees her that this guy is a goner and one way or another, these two will end up together.

Enter that vaunted adventure element. Marabunta--a two-mile-wide, twenty-mile-long devour-everything-in-its-path column of army ants--is on the march. Headed straight for Christopher's plantation. Oops. Joanna can't leave. Instead, she gets to prove why she’s exactly the woman Christopher needs. She does a great job of it, too.

And how is a woman like a piano? As Joanna explains to Christopher, both are better when they’ve been…played.

My fave line from this movie comes near the end, when Joanna’s right there beside him as the ants are at the gates. He turns to all the terrified locals and exhorts them to “Be brave. Like Leiningen’s woman…”

(and yes, there will be pictures...later in the day, if we're lucky...)

So then. Old movies. What are your favorites? And what are your favorite lines from old movies?


At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christine - One of my favorites is The Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy. I loved that entire series, so madcap and fitting for the times. I use to watch a ton of old movies. With the kids, I don't see them much, but we do watch all the old musicals, my three year old loves to dance and sing with them.


At 8:26 AM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

I had to skip through the spoilers because I've never seen this movie and now I absolutely must go out and rent it! Thanks, Chris!

And p.s....woohoo, I got a connection!!!

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Susan Mallery said...

I *love* the Naked Jungle!! Love it! It's so fabulous. The clothes, the attitude, the characters. It's so macho and sexy and dangerous. It's all subtext and seething sensuality.

Chris and I discovered our mutual love for The Naked Jungle and I think it totally changed our relationship into something deep and meaningful! :-)

That's my suggestion. Get your girlfriends together, have wine and chocolate and enjoy The Naked Jungle. It will transport you and make you want to buy fabulous lingerie!

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

Forgot to mention favorite movie lines...when my family gets together, we eventually start quoting from Moonstruck. It's got so many classic funny lines.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Ah, Chris. I LOVE The Naked Jungle. What a great movie!!

And Cady, The Thin Man movies are still some of my favorites. William Powell and Myrna Loy were just fabulous together.

But I will watch ANY old movie with Cary Grant in it, over and over again. HOUSEBOAT, MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE, TO CATCH A THIEF, best Christmas movie ever THE BISHOP'S WIFE and one of my absolute favorites, THE GRASS IS GREENER. In that one, Cary is married to Deborah Kerr and they're living in a fabulous English country manor house and they're having to give tours to keep the place going. In walks American tourist Robert Mitchum, making a play for Cary's wife.

The dialogue in this movie is amazing and every time I watch it, I hear something I'd missed before. WHY don't they write movies like they used to???

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Kate--Snapoutofit! I lost my wife! I lost my hand! (okay, okay, back under control now...sort of.)

Cady and Maureen--Yay! on the Thin Man movies. and they did do faboo dialogue back then..

Susan, subtext and sensuality! Oh, my! And yes, it's true. deep and meaningful,that's us,baby. Now, see, a Naked Jungle party with the idea of a really good time...

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maureen - Houseboat, what a great movie. I love Cary Grant and Sophia Loren looks great in that movie. Actually, she still looks great, can I be her when I grow up? :)

As for NJ - I haven't seen it, but the whole ant thing sounds a bit icky. Sorry, don't throw anything at me.


At 11:16 AM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Cady--Wasn't HOUSEBOAT a good time? And oh my, how does Sophia keep getting BETTER??? Maybe I should move to Italy!

Oh, and the ant thing? Creepy, but SUCH a good movie!!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

Does When Harry Met Sally qualify as an old movie by now? For some reason I was thinking about this line from the movie yesterday (Harry to Sally on New Year's Eve):

"...when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

I am so glad to know about The Naked Jungle! Must see!

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Christyne Butler said...

Hi all,

Ah, old movies! They are the best! I love "The Naked Jungle" thanks to my mom who passed down her love of the classics to me! I can remember back in high school when she would wake me in the middle of the night (often on a school night) from a sound sleep in order to watch one of her favorites with her! Is it any surprise I named my daughter "Cagney" after my favorite actor - James Cagney? :)

Let's favorites (and I won't go crazy, I promise):

#1 - White Christmas
"When what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting whatever it is you've got left."

#2 - Casablanca
"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

#3 - Gone With The Wind
"You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.”

#4 - Mister Roberts
"All right, all right. Who took it? Who took it?"

#5 - It's A Wonderful Life
"A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.”

#6 - Singing In The Rain
“You have to show a movie at a party. It's a Hollywood law.”

#7 - The Best Years of Our Lives
“We never had any trouble." How many times did I tell you I hated you and believed it in my heart? How many times did you tell me you were tired of me; that we were all washed up? How many times did we have to fall in love all over again?”

#8 - Now, Voyager
"Don't ask for the moon! We have the stars!"

#9 - To Have And Have Not
"You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put you lips together and blow."

#10 – Roman Holiday
“She's fair game, Joe. It's always open season on princesses”

See – I stopped at 10! LOL!

At 6:43 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Cady, you are so right. Those ants are beyond icky. In fact, there's a scene where....never mind. I'll spare you. *g*

Christie, yep. I'd say When Harry Met Sally definitely qualifies. Sheesh. Where do the years go?

Wow, Christyne, you've got a library of 'em. Love the story about your mom. Lucky kid. With Movie Education 101 right in your own home.


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