Three Great Movies

by Randy Fuller Apr 23, 2023

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, we examine three films which always turn up in discussions of the greatest of all time.

In case you don’t get enough exposure to feelings of entitlement in your average day, take in a viewing of Rules of the Game. The French film from 1939 brings enough biting satire to the table to cover a full day even in an entitlement-rich place like La-La Land.

The setting of Jean Renoir’s hard-nosed comedy is a country estate in France, where a group of bougie pals get together for a weekend soirée. The dance card includes staring down the impending World War with an overnight bag in one hand and a magnum of Champagne in the other. The romp includes a dashing aviator’s hurt feelings, mistaken identities, and death as the recipe for a bunch of king-sized mal de têtes.

You’ll want only the best for this viewing party, and we’re not talking about Veuve Clicquot. A good bottle of vintage Dom Perignon will run you about three bills – but it could still leave you with stars in your eyes if you gulp too much of it.

In 1941, Orson Welles added Citizen Kane to the G.O.A.T. consideration. It was his debut as a director, and we’ll wait while you find us another first-time effort that rose to that height. Go ahead, we have all day.

The film makes “Rosebud” one of the all-time great movie spoilers, right up there with “Willis is dead for the whole movie,” “Bambi’s mom gets shot” and “Old Yeller dies.”

Neither Kane nor Rules were received very well by audiences of the day, although Welles collected a writing Oscar and Kane garnered heaps of praise for its cinematography and editing. The things that always struck me about Citizen Kane were the sets. How big is your fireplace? How much space lies between you and your spouse at the dinner table? Does your mansion have a warehouse attached?

Since Charles Foster Kane is believed to be at least partially inspired by William Randolph Hearst, let’s pair a wine from Hearst Ranch in San Simeon. The 2020 Pancho Petit Verdot and the 2020 GSM both sell for $52. You supply the headlines and let them supply the wine.

1942’s To Be Or Not to Be is regarded as a comedy classic today, but it wasn’t always so. The satire of the Jack Benny/Carol Lombard vehicle missed the mark for many at the time of its release. There was something about people not finding the humor wrapped in a Nazi uniform. To be fair, there was a camp that saw the film for what it was, so the verdict at the time was mixed.

I have wondered how a Beloved Entertainer like Benny ended up in the lead role of the play-within-the-movie, Gestapo. He was really a “playing the cornfields” type of comic. Well, director Ernst Lubitsch reportedly wrote the role with Benny in mind, which so impressed him that he jumped at the chance to become Josef Tura.

The movie’s troupe of actors plays the part of Hitler’s goons so well that they even fool Hitler. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, serve Veuve Clicquot and call it Dom. You’ll save about $250 and still get all the bubbles you want.

Randy Fuller
NowAnd Zin Wine –
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