Now that cold, harsh winter is officially here, I've been staying in and binging on screwball comedies, and submerging myself in cocktails. Then again, I like doing that during all seasons, but let's just say it's because it's bloody freezing out.
Movie: It Happened One Night (1934) + Cocktail: French 75 = Opulent Fugitives
Considered to be the first romantic comedy film, this is what you should watch if you want to see Clark Gable shirtless. And it's a well-made movie and all of that praising nonsense. All the classic elements of a romantic comedy are seen in this film. Spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is running away from her father's influence to join her 'true love.' When she starts out on her journey, she meets gruff newspaperman Peter Warne (Gable). To ensure that he doesn't let her father know where she is, she promises Peter an exclusive story about her life. The obviously mismatched social-class pair travel by bus, car, foot, and thumb, and fall in love along the way. After some missed encounters, Ellie and Peter finally end up happily together. Any movie that involves heiresses makes me want to drink champagne, but since I like to experience ways to drink champagne, I go for the French 75 when I watch this movie. Champagne and lemon juice create beautiful, refreshing flavors that will definitely take you on a 'road journey' of your own.
Movie: Libeled Lady (1936) + Cocktail: Brandy Alexander = Sophisticated Lunacy
I happily stumbled upon Libeled Lady at my local video store (remember those?) when I was in high school, and what joyous fortune: the hilarity that stems from newspapers receiving libel suits is truly outstanding. And the core cast is spectacular. Socialite Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy) brings a libel case to Warren Haggerty's (Spencer Tracy) newspaper after they falsely accused her of breaking up a marriage. Desperate, Haggerty seeks out one his suave, former reporter Bill Chandler (William Powell) to help him out. They plan to get Connie alone with Bill, and have his 'wife' (played amazingly by Jean Harlow) show up, leading to a breakup of their 'marriage,' then the libel suit can be dropped. Simple, right? Since the film's premise is incredibly sophisticated, you're obliged to have a refined drink, like the Brandy Alexander. For me, one of the most refined liquors anyone can have is brandy, but I don't always love drinking brandy straight, hence why I go for the Brandy Alexander cocktail.
Movie: Topper (1937) + Cocktail: Gibson = Swanky Phantoms
Cary Grant and Constance Bennett as hard-partying, socialite ghosts? Perfect and amazingly funny. George (Grant) and Marion (Bennett) are as rich as they are irresponsible, and after a deadly car crash, they emerge as ghosts from the wreck. Caught between heaven and hell, they decide to do some good deeds so that they can 'move on' to the next place. After their stuffy friend Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) decides to liven up his life by buying George's flashy sports car, the ghosts appear and decide for their good deed to help Topper properly live his life, with plenty of drinking, flirting, and mischief included. After a lot of scandalous activity, Topper is reunited with his wife, and the ghosts can finally move on to heaven. I drink the classic Gibson cocktail when I watch this movie, mainly because I've convinced myself that George and Marion would mix up a batch of Gibsons in their apartment, car, office, wherever they are to sip and enjoy at all times of day.
Movie: Midnight (1939) + Cocktail: Champagne Cup = Deceptive Mania
Have you ever wanted to pretend to be royalty, just to see if you could get away with it? After watching Midnight, I definitely wanted to run off to Paris to see if I could. Then again, I always want to run off to Paris, usually without a far-fetched reason. American showgirl Eve Peabody (Claudette Colbert) arrives in Paris with only the clothes on her back. Granted, she's wearing a sophisticated evening gown, but still, girl has it rough. She meets kind Hungarian cab driver Tibor Czerny (Don Ameche) who drives her all over Paris so she can find a job. After some job searching and party-crashing at a black-tie event, she meets aristocrat George Flammarion (John Barrymore), who sets her up with an apartment, money, and clothes, on the condition that she pretend to be a baroness, and more importantly, steal his wife's supposed lover away. Since this film is set in Paris, I love having Champagne-anything when watching this movie, but I've more often enjoyed the Champagne Cup. It updates the already opulent glass of champagne to a slightly more intriguing mixed drink, much like what Claudette Colbert's brassy American chorus girl does to the conceited aristocrats.
Movie: The Palm Beach Story (1942) + Cocktail: Bay Breeze = Stylish Agitation
I've already expressed my deep love for Preston Sturges, and this movie is one of many reasons why. It's amazing to watch the lengths people will go to for money, and sometimes love. Financially-struggling married couple Tom and Gerry Jeffers (Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert) are trying to set up the New York life and careers they feel they deserve. Gerry, deciding that they would do better apart, leaves on a train for Palm Beach, hoping that she can find a rich, second husband who can help jumpstart Tom's career (you see, she's still in love with him). She encounters the absurdly wealthy John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee), and accepts his extravagant help when she loses her belongings on the train. Tom has chased Gerry to Palm Beach, and not wanting Hackensacker to know about her marriage, introduces Tom as her brother. Lo and behold, Hackensacker has a sister (Mary Astor) who becomes very attracted to Gerry's 'brother.' It gets complicated from there. I like drinking a Bay Breeze for the vodka, but mainly I like it with this movie for the name: the movie takes place near, and this is the best drink I have found that evokes a maritime feel.