Saturday, January 03, 2009

Kate's Current Movie Crush - Van Johnson

Van Johnson as Andrew Larkin, In The Good Old Summertime.

It's a silly name for the movie, since it takes place almost entirely at Christmas. In fact, it's one of my favorite Christmas movies, one I always forget about until I run into it on TV during the holiday season.

If you haven't watched it before, you really should. It's a musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner, and it stars a sparkling Judy Garland and my current movie star crush, Van Johnson.

Now, Van Johnson isn't one of those heart-stopping sexy leading men from the film industry heyday, like Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power or Clark Gable. He's more the boy-next-door, with the quirky smile and floppy hair, who you always end up rooting for to get the girl. Think James Stewart (who played the same role in The Shop Around the Corner) or Tom Hanks (ditto, in You've Got Mail).

So if you've seen either of those movies, you know the basic plot of In The Good Old Summertime. Boy meets girl, they fight and fuss, all the while not knowing that the other is their secret pen-pal. I love watching Van Johnson's progression from sparring partner to hidden crush, as he realizes that the ideal woman of his post-office-box romance is really the spunky, frustrating Veronica Fisher. Van Johnson and Judy Garland were friends in real life, and their comfort and delight in working with each other is evident in the easy, enjoyable interplay between them.

But the reason I've got this huge, movie star crush on Van Johnson right now is the last scene of the movie. He's teasing her about her "fiance", making up increasingly horrible things about this fictional man of her dreams (he's bald! He's fat! He's unemployed!), all the while interspersing it with coded statements of how he really feels about her. The little glances, the way he holds back when what he really wants is to sweep her into his arms -- sigh!

And when he sits down next to her, he can't keep his hands to himself. He touches her hair, puts his arm around her, toys with her lacy collar, even presses kisses to her temple while she all but pants with repressed sexual tension. It's one of the hottest scenes I've watched for a long time, and the farthest they finally go is a fade-to-black chaste kiss.

I've tried to find the scene on YouTube, but all I can find is the musical numbers from the movie. So you really should go rent it now. You can find it on Netflix, or, if you're a Comcast customer, it's a free On Demand movie via TCM.

Here's the TCM trailer, for a quick taste...

So, who's your current movie star crush?


Stacy~ said...

Oh I remember seeing this movie, now you make me want to Netflix it :)

Current movie crush? Still Gerard Butler. Nothin' like a big, brawny Scot to make a girl weak in the knees ;)

Kate Davies said...


So you're thinking of Netflixing it? Yay! My job here is done. ;)

And you can't beat Gerard Butler for weak-knees syndrome. Sigh!