Friday, May 18, 2007

Grab Bag Friday's Movie Vault: Hayley Mills in Summer Magic

It's going to be a cold, rainy weekend here in Maine...perfect for curling up with popcorn and a movie in the middle of the day. And thanks to one of my favorite inventions of the internet age, Netflix, I can easily rent all my most favorite, most obscure movies from childhood (as long as someone has gone to the trouble to release them on DVD.)

Case in point: Summer Magic.

It will become quite clear to those of you who continue to read Please Come Flying that I had a bit of a childhood obsession with Hayley Mills. How could you not? Her characters are spunky, clever, a little willful, and always have "scathingly brilliant" ideas. And if that wasn't enough, her charming accent just puts you over the edge!

So, I will try to be brief though I'm already tempted to blather on about a hundred little details. Suffice it to say, this is a charming, well-built movie that some might peg as a fluffy Disney vehicle for Hayley Mills. I do not deny the fluff. All Hayley Mills' childhood movies have fluff...that is what they are. But it's very, very lovable fluff.

The basic story is about a family that moves from Boston to Beulah, Maine (perhaps this was an early trigger of my later desire to move to Maine?) under some interesting circumstances and due to various mistaken identities, well-intentioned lies, and other entanglements, lighthearted comedy ensues. As with all of my favorite Hayley Mills movies, the story is a good one, well-crafted, and surprisingly unpredictable for the genre. What I didn't know until recently is that the movie is based on a book, Mother Carey's Chickens by Kate Douglas Wiggins (of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm fame), which I am now going to have to check out.

Burl Ives plays the soft-hearted postmaster, and of course there are some songs. Highlights include:
The Ugly Bug Ball (which accompanies an odd nature-scene interlude that my siblings used to fast forward through)
On the Front Porch (my personal favorite)
Femininity, a hilarious family favorite which my sisters and I still delight in singing to each other in (very bad) Hayley Mills accents:
You must walk feminine, talk feminine
Smile and be girl feminine
Utilize your femininity
That's what every girl should know
If you want to catch a beau!

!!!! I was just searching around to see if there happened to be clips of these songs that I could post for you, and I just found out that you can actually download the entire soundtrack on iTunes! Wow. My husband is going to be thrilled about coming home to "The Ugly Bug Ball" blasting in the living room. :)

Which leads me to my final comment which is this: I recently made Kevin sit through Summer Magic, fully expecting that he would groan through the whole thing. However. Not a single groan. AND he said it was "pretty good." Which proves that either the movie holds up to my hype, or I have a very, very loving husband.

P.S. If you are not related to me and you have ever seen Summer Magic, please post a comment. I have never met a single soul who has seen this movie unless I foisted it upon them, and it would be interesting to know you. (If you are related to me, you're still allowed to put in your two cents, of course.)

P.P.S. For those of you who prefer thoughtful, deep, meaningful movies that can change the world, you can pretend this blog post never happened. But be prepared...I might just cover "That Darn Cat," "Parent Trap," or "In Search of the Castaways" in upcoming months. "Pollyanna," on the other hand, is actually surprisingly thoughtful and meaningful, so you've got that to look forward to, which is good.


Anonymous said...

ah, good grass roots logic in these old movies...and see the minimum or trouble...makes sense...common sense

Anonymous said...

Josie, I am NOT related to you, and I HAVE seen this movie, ha! I adore Haley Mills! It's been a long time since I've seen it, but now I'm thinking I need to rent it soon! :)

Josephine Cameron said...

Wow. See, I knew there had to be *someone* else out there. It's actually out on DVD now, believe it or not, which is really cool.

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching Summer Magic tonight. I often find myself quoting "I'm too weak and dainty," from this, a childhood favorite of mine. Recently I decided to make my roommate watch it with me. She loved it, of course. I found your blog because I decided I have to read the book it's based on, but didn't know the name of it. Thank you for supplying that. And I also found this link where it looks like you can read the whole thing online.

Mother Carey's Chickens

Thanks for the help and for sharing a love of this little film.

Anonymous said...

ha ha. That link didn't work.


Josephine Cameron said...

Hi Holly.
Thanks so much for the link! I haven't picked up the book yet, & now I can just read it online. Here's a clean link to Mother Carey's Chickens because the last one seems to have been cut off.
And the weak and dainty line is a *great* one from knock-kneed Nancy.
:) Here's hoping the book is as enjoyable as the movie! -j