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This week’s release of Adam Sandler’s remake of “Cactus Flower” is a good reason to check out the 1969 original with Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and, in her Oscar-winning screen debut, Goldie Hawn.

It began as a French play, adapted into a smash success on Broadway, and then this movie version, brightly directed by Gene Saks. Matthau plays Julian, a dentist who tells the girls he dates that he is married to avoid any long-term romantic entanglements. But when his much-younger girlfriend Toni (Hawn) attempts suicide he realizes how much he loves her and tells her he wants to get married. She is worried about being a home wrecker and insists on meeting his wife to be sure that she wants a divorce. Rather than tell Toni the truth, Julian persuades his starchy nurse (Bergman) to pretend to be his wife. Various romantic complications are all straightened out by the happy ending.

As we celebrate the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan this week, most of the focus will be on his years in politics. But it is also a good opportunity to take another look at some of his best performances as an actor as well. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Knute Rockne All American This classic story of one of the all-time great college football coaches features Reagan as George Gipp, the player whose death inspired the team to victory.

2. Bedtime for Bonzo Reagan often joked about this film, but it is actually a very cute comedy about a nature/nurture experiment with a chimp raised as a human. Co-star Diana Lynn shines as the love interest.

3. Kings Row The President’s favorite of his films, this is generally considered to be his best performance. It is the story of a small town with a lot of hidden struggles and ugly secrets. Reagan played a optimistic, caring young man who must face a cruel and tragic loss.

4. Hellcats of the Navy It isn’t much of a movie, but this WWII submarine drama is worth watching for another reason — it’s the only film to co-star the future president and his future wife. Then called Nancy Davis, the First Lady appears as the nurse who decides he is her “Mr. Right.”

5. “The Voice of the Turtle” A solider on leave falls for a girl who has not been lucky in love in this romantic comedy based on a hit Broadway play.

And for those who want to know more about his career after Hollywood:

cobie.jpgI’m a fan of “How I Met Your Mother” and its talented cast and so I was delighted to hear that Cobie Smulders, who plays Canadian broadcaster Robin on the show, may play Maria Hill in the new Avengers movie.

I love this commercial!

Thanks to my friend Sammie Young for sharing this with me.

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