Raise a Glass to the Movies!

Summer 2010 sees a massive programme of Film Festivals all over the world from Aruba in the Caribbean to Shanghai, from Edinburgh to Venice. You know how in the old days you had to have a beer and a football team to qualify as a city? Well now you’re not really on the map unless you have a film festival. As the stars sashay down the red carpet, we at Gintime have been reminiscing about our favourite cocktail moments from classic movies.

All About Eve (1950)
Bette Davis gives the performance of a lifetime as the acerbic Margo Channing, a celebrated but ageing star of the stage. Margo befriends her innocent admirer Eve and is too slow to discover that this Jonny come lately is going to steal her spotlight. Margo uses her gin choice to indicate her feelings towards her party guests:

Birdie: There’s a message from the bartender. Does Miss Channing know she ordered domestic gin by mistake?

Margo: The only thing I ordered by mistake is the guests. They’re domestic, too, and they don’t care what they drink as long as it burns!

Margo’s most memorable line comes as she sips a Gibson: “Fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna be a bumpy night.”

Harvey (1950)
James Stewart stars as Elwood P. Dowd, a likeable lush with a mysterious friend called Harvey, a six-foot tall rabbit whom nobody but Elwood can see. Naturally his family try to have him committed to a psychiatric hospital. Despite possible madness and a drink problem being at the centre of this story Stewart gives a gentle performance of a thoroughly likeable chap. If only Martinis made me have an invisible bunny friend, I’d drink a lot more of them!

Dr Sanderson: Oh, I suppose you take a drink now and then like the rest of us.

Elwood: Mmmmmmmm…Yes. Yes I do, doctor. As a matter of fact, I’d like one right now.

And there’s a nice twist at the very end that will make the day of anyone who’s ever been told they’ve ‘had too much to drink’.

The Thin Man (1934)
Famous retired detective Nick Charles returns to New York with Nora, his wife of four years. A Martini never far from his hand he, with the Mrs. in tow, is pulled back into the sleuthing game accompanied by a cast of fellow drinkers and eccentrics. Here, Nick offers some good advice to wannabe mixologists:

Nick: The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a Dry Martini you always shake to waltz time.

Some Like it Hot (1959)
In this cross-dressing romp Joe and Jerry, two hard up musicians on the run from the mob, drag up and join an all girl band en route to Miami, where many of their fellow musicians hope to bag a millionaire. The most scrumptious of the lot is the unlucky in love Sugar Kane, played by Marilyn Monroe (who also caused a stir when she sipped Martinis in The Seven Year Itch). One memorable drinking scene includes Sugar mixing Manhattans in a hot water bottle, during an eventful overnight train ride to Miami. My own favourite is a sequence where Joe imitates a wealthy oil baron in a successful attempt to woo Sugar; whist Jerry, aka Daphne, is romanced by the real tycoon. After tangoing the night away with his eager suitor, Jerry has some happy news:

Jerry: Have I got things to tell you!
Joe: What happened?
Jerry: I’m engaged.
Joe: Congratulations. Who’s the lucky girl?
Jerry: I am!

Casino Royal (2006)
Cocktails certainly feature more in the films of the golden era than the contemporary. We’ve never been big Bond fans, as his penchant for a Vodka Martini ‘shaken, not stirred’ makes us growl, and not in a sexy way. However, if you can get your mind past Daniel Craig emerging from the sea in his retro swimming trunks (take a moment…) and focus on the glamorous poker scene, Casino Royal has a cocktail moment to die for. Bond orders a pick me up concoction from the bartender: “Three measures of Gordon’s; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon.” Sounds good so far! I certainly wouldn’t mind having a cocktail to be named after me in this way:

James Bond: I think I’ll call it a Vesper.
Vesper Lynd: Because of the bitter aftertaste?
James Bond: No, because once you’ve tasted it, that’s all you want to drink.

Altogether now: swoon!

Auntie Mame (1958)
When unconventional socialite Mame’s brother dies she is forced to raise her nephew, Patrick. Adventures ensue, as the two are definitely cut from the same cloth. The thought of children mixing drinks in modern movies is completely unthinkable. However, in this delightful clip Patrick and Auntie Mame have Babcock well and truly sewn up as the young nephew mixes the perfect Martini. Watch it here:

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