Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Christine Rimmer asks, "When is a woman like a piano?"

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 Mallery knows.

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.

Joanna 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 (Yes, army ants, and for those of you reading this spoiler, the ants are what gets the jungle naked). Leiningen turns to all the terrified locals and exhorts them to “Be brave. Like Leiningen’s woman…”

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

--Christine Rimmer


Susan Mallery said...

This is such a great movie! Like an old Harlequin Presents. The thrill is the sexual tension which, considering the whole ant thing, is very unexpected.

I made the dh watch the move a couple of years ago and he totally didn't get it. But I loved it and consider this a great chick flick. Unexpected, of course, what with the ants and all, but still romantic and thrilling and very sexy.

Makes me want to see it again. I wish there was a way for all of us to watch it at plot group!

Christine Rimmer said...

Hey, Susan! Yes, at plot group. Great idea...

And romantic, thrilling and sexy. I mean, what else does a girl need?

Lois said...

Well, old movies. . . alas, most of the movies I have or seen aren't so old. But there is the 1940 Pride and Prejudice. Even with the changes, rather like it. . . Claudette Colbert's Cleopatra. . . The Fall of the Roman Empire with Christoper Plummer. . . oh, all the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies, can't forget those! :) But off hand, that's all I can think of!!! LOL :)


Maureen said...

The movie sounds great. I'll have to find it. My husband and I are always quoting Al Pacino in And Justice For All where he's yelling, "You're out of order! You're all out of order!"

Christine Rimmer said...

Lois, looks to me like you have more than a few old faves. I love Claudette Colbert's Clepatra!

Maureen, I remember that line. Love it. For some reason, you're reminding me of Spartacus, with Kirk Douglas. He's a gladiator and when he does well in the arena, they give him Jean Simmons (as a slave girl) to enjoy. She takes off her burlap bag of a dress. He's hot for her. But he turns her down and yells at his keepers, "I'm not an animal!" Loved that. So passionate!

Lily said...

Super easy... all romantic comedies with Audrey Hepburn in them!

Nathalie said...

All about Eve is my favorite... and anything with Bette Davis... I have seen and loved.

I don't really like Heston... maybe becuase of his pro-gun policy... so I will pass!

Christine Rimmer said...

Lily--It's so amazing about Audrey Hepburn, how she looks so great today in those movies; not retro at all. I could wear her clothes from those movies right now--well, I mean, if I could fit into them. LOL

Nathalie--re Bette Davis, oh yeah! I loved that costume epic with Henry Fonda where she was a wild Southern Belle and he dumped her because she was so much trouble. But in the end, when he got the plague, she went with him to nurse him. What was the name of that one? Faboo!

Re Charlton Heston and the gun thing. Yikes. Even one of the posters for this movie shows him holding a gun up in that "from my cold, dead hands" pose. So scary. But back then, well, he was a hunk...