It's been a rainy week here in Maine, and there's nothing like grey, drizzly days to put me in the mood for old movies. So here's a very special one from my movie vault for you.
When I was a kid, Frank Capra was the only movie director I knew by name. And I devoured his movies. I loved his dramatic stories of community, love, and decency triumphing over individual greed. I loved his screwball comedies. I loved the family dynamics and the big, teary-eyed finales. I remember inviting friends over in junior high to watch movies and being somewhat shocked that they had never heard of Meet John Doe or You Can't Take it With You. And I have to say, they were probably equally stunned (and dismayed) that I was suggesting we watch them!
But there is one little known Frank Capra comedy that has a special place in my heart. In Here Comes the Groom, Bing Crosby plays Pete Garvey, a journalist who adopts two orphans while on assignment in France. When he returns to the States, he has five days to win back his ex-fiancee Jane Wyman (who is now engaged to another man) or he will have to give up the children.
This movie can *still* make me laugh until my sides hurt. There's something about the combination of the slapstick comedy, the orphans, Bing Crosby's charm, Jane Wyman's endearing practicality, and the music (be prepared for a great Louis Armstrong appearance!) that is absolutely timeless. As far as I know, Here Comes the Groom can only be found now in a double-feature DVD set with "Just for You" (another Bing Crosby/Jane Wyman flick).
And here's a little secret for any Songwriting for Kids enthusiasts out there. You know how "We Always Leave 'em Singing?" Well, that little gem comes straight from this movie. You'll just have to watch it to find out!
Here's a clip of Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman singing In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening: