Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Breakfast at Villerville

Breakfast at Villerville (1910):

by Edouard Vuillard, who died on June 21, 1940, at the age of 71. You can read more about him and see more of his work at these sites.

There's a 20-minute overview here:

I don't eat breakfast, but I do enjoy a cup of coffee on my patio in the morning:

Please share a beverage with us at the weekly blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Number 13

Number 13 is a 1904 ghost story by M.R. James. It begins,
Among the towns of Jutland, Viborg justly holds a high place. It is the seat of a bishopric; it has a handsome but almost entirely new cathedral, a charming garden, a lake of great beauty, and many storks. Near it is Hald, accounted one of the prettiest things in Denmark; and hard by is Finderup, where Marsk Stig murdered King Erik Glipping on St Cecilia's Day, in the year 1286. Fifty-six blows of square-headed iron maces were traced on Erik's skull when his tomb was opened in the seventeenth century. But I am not writing a guide-book. There are good hotels in Viborg - Preisler's and the Phoenix are all that can be desired. But my cousin, whose experiences I have to tell you now, went to the Golden Lion the first time that he visited Viborg. He has not been there since, and the following pages will perhaps explain the reason of his abstention.

The Golden Lion is one of the very few houses in the town that were not destroyed in the great fire of 1726, which practically demolished the cathedral, the Sognekirke, the Raadhuus, and so much else that was old and interesting. It is a great red-brick house - that is, the front is of brick, with corbie steps on the gables and a text over the door; but the courtyard into which the omnibus drives is of black and white 'cage-work' in wood and plaster.

The sun was declining in the heavens when my cousin walked up to the door, and the light smote full upon the imposing façade of the house. He was delighted with the old-fashioned aspect of the place, and promised himself a thoroughly satisfactory and amusing stay in an inn so typical of old Jutland.

It was not business in the ordinary sense of the word that had brought Mr Anderson to Viborg. He was engaged upon some researches into the Church history of Denmark, and it had come to his knowledge that in the Rigsarkiv of Viborg there were papers, saved from the fire, relating to the last days of Roman Catholicism in the country. He proposed, therefore, to spend a considerable time - perhaps as much as a fortnight or three weeks - in examining and copying these, and he hoped that the Golden Lion would be able to give him a room of sufficient size to serve alike as a bedroom and a study. His wishes were explained to the landlord, and, after a certain amount of thought, the latter suggested that perhaps it might be the best way for the gentleman to look at one or two of the larger rooms and pick one for himself. It seemed a good idea.

The top floor was soon rejected as entailing too much getting upstairs after the day's work; the second floor contained no room of exactly the dimensions required; but on the first floor there was a choice of two or three rooms which would, so far as size went, suit admirably. The landlord was strongly in favour of Number 17, but Mr Anderson pointed out that its windows commanded only the blank wall of the next house, and that it would be very dark in the afternoon. Either Number 12 or Number 14 would be better, for both of them looked on the street, and the bright evening light and the pretty view would more than compensate him for the additional amount of noise.
It can be read online here. It was adapted for television in 2006:

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Europa '51

Europa '51 is a 1952 film directed by Roberto Rossellini and starring Ingrid Bergman. From Imdb:
Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to living in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in need who cross her path.
The consequences of her charity are unexpected. It's hard to realize how hard life is for some people, both those without resources and those whom we think of as having it all.

Part 1:

Part 2:

The New York Times calls it a "dismal and dolorous account of the frustrations of a socially distinguished young matron in finding an outlet for her urge to do good." The New Yorker says, "the psychodramatic strands are woven harrowingly tight."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Level 42

Level 42 is an English band named after Douglas Adams' novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which "42" is the answer to "the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything." Here they sing Lessons in Love:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Los Olvidados

Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned) is a 1950 Mexican film directed by Luis Buñuel. It's the story of young people struggling in poverty in Mexico City. A sad story of how poor kids don't stand a chance.

via Youtube:

"They should kill them all before they are born."

The New York Times calls it "brutal and unrelenting". Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 4 stars.

The New Yorker opens with this:
Set in Mexico, Luis Buñuel’s ruthless—almost surgical—examination of how the poor prey on one another is the most horrifying of all films about juvenile crime. The one masterwork on this subject, it stands apart from the genre by its pitilessness, its controlled passion.
FilmReference.com says, "Los olvidados was Luis Buñuel's favorite film". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 94%.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Second Confession

The Second Confession is a 1949 Nero Wolfe mystery novel by Rex Stout. This is a great series that has held up well, and I'm enjoying reading them. The characters are unique and engaging, and the plots are well-constructed. I'd highly recommend these if you like mysteries.

This book takes place in June.

from the back of the book:
A fanatic millionaire, a lawless politician, and a gangland boss all wanted Nero Wolfe to do things their way. Money was no object -neither was life or death...

An explosive adventure in murder and double-dealing featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.
I have also read these from the Nero Wolfe series:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 film noir starring Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, and Hume Cronyn. This is a not-to-missed film noir. Riveting.

The New York Times says, "It also comes off a tremendously tense and dramatic show, and it gives Lana Turner and John Garfield the best roles of their careers."

FilmSite.org says it's "one of the best film noirs of all time -and one of the earliest prototypes of today's 'erotic thrillers.'" Empire Online calls it "a triumph of plot-driven narrative and sparky dialogue." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 95%.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Black Coffee

Black Coffee:

sung by Ella Fitzgerald, fabled Jazz Singer, who died on June 15, 1998, at the age of 79, following many years of declining health due to heart and respiratory problems and complications from diabetes. Her last recording was made in 1991 and her last public performance was in 1993. A legend, she won many awards, including 13 Grammies.

The song itself -and what a song it is!- is from 1948, and the Ella Fitzgerald version is from 1960.

Also notable are versions by Sarah Vaughan from 1949:

Peggy Lee from 1953:

Bobby Darin (like Ella Fitzgerald in 1960):

Julie London, again from 1960:

Rosemary Clooney recorded it in 1964, Petula Clark did it in 1968, and the Pointer Sisters covered it in 1974. K.D. Lang has a version from 1988. Sinead O'Connor's cover is from 1992. Marianne Faithfull's cover from 2008 is interesting, but I prefer the earlier versions from 1960 and before.

Hat tip to Rita for pointing me to the 2003 Maria Muldaur version.

Please join the weekly blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth, where we share a drink-related post and visit with each other. You will receive a warm welcome.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk horror film. There's some body horror here and metal fetishism. I watched it, but I'm not a fan. It's just over an hour long, though, so it's a good choice if you want to dip your toe in the waters of this weirdness. The music is compelling and the images unforgettable. Rust is a prominent feature, but then so is rape.

Moria gives it a full 5 stars, calls it "one of the most extraordinary pieces of underground filmmaking to have emerged in the 1980s," and says,
The underlying theme of much of Shinya Tsukamoto’s work is similar to that in the films of David Cronenberg – flesh has become a mutable battleground where the age-old Manichean debate has finally found its warring ground. In Tetsuo – The Iron Man, flesh represents the downbeaten self, which is engaged in a war with machinery. Tsukamoto sexually fetishizes machinery – pistons, oil, the gleam of chromium, jagged edges, tangled wires – and equates it with wildly repressed desires – it is constantly trying to burst from inside human skin, run rampant and absorb everything into its mass. What more potent an image can such a regimented society as Japan have produced than that of a white-collar worker engaged in a battle of wills to stop his flesh being taken over by machinery that insists on erupting from within?
1000 Misspent Hours calls it "a mindfuck par excellence". 366 Weird Movies begins their review with this: "Attempts to describe Tetsuo: The Iron Man to the uninitiated run up against a problem of missing touchstones—what other irrational gore movies about men transforming into machines from the inside out can you compare it to?" HorrorNews.net has screen shots and calls it "a brilliant piece of filmmaking that combines nightmare imagery with modern industrial sensibilities."

Rotten Tomatoes has a 77% critics score.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Face for a Clue

A Face for a Clue (1931) by Georges Simenon is the second Maigret novel in the volume of two pictured above. Maigret is a detective I enjoy reading about. He is a fascinating character. There's a list of the novels here. This particular book has been adapted for film and television, including as The Yellow Dog in 1932, but I haven't seen any of them.

from Wikipedia:
M. Mostaguen, the wine dealer at Concarneau, is wounded by a gunshot when returning home drunk from the local Admiral Hotel and Maigret, who is organizing the mobile squad in Rennes, is called in by the Mayor to solve the crime. Maigret settles down at the hotel and discovers a set of curious characters...
The New York Times says, "After reading one book by Simenon you'll always want to read more."