Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Lady Eve

The Lady Eve is a 1941 Preston Sturges screwball comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. Priceless!

You can watch it online here:



The Telegraph calls it Sturges' best film. Filmsite calls it "a sophisticated romantic/sex comedy (with light romance and mock seduction scenes) -a classic screwball film, a quintessential Preston Sturges work of art and the director's first real commercial hit." It's on Roger Ebert's list of Great Movies. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Still Life With Casserole

Still Life With Casserole (1955):


by Fairfield Porter, an American painter who died on September 18, 1975 at age 68. You can read more about him here and see more of his art here and here.

I don't have a casserole dish like that and always used those clear 9x13 or 8x8 Pyrex dishes. My easiest casserole recipes from 40+ years ago when I was first learning to cook:

Tuna Casserole:

Chunk Light Tuna, packed in water -2 cans
Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup -1 can
Egg Noodles -2 cups
Bread crumbs -to taste for topping

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cook noodles.
Place cooked noodles in the bottom of greased baking dish.
Spread tuna over noodles.
Spread soup over tuna.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Top with bread crumbs.
Cook 10 more minutes.

Green Bean Casserole:
French-style Green Beans -2 cans (16 oz each)
Sliced Water Chestnuts -1 can
Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup -1 can
French Fried Onions -to taste
Shredded Cheddar Cheese -as desired for topping

Layer in greased baking dish.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 F 20 minutes.
Top with cheese and bake another 10 minutes.

And Chicken Casserole:

Long-grain White Rice -1 cup, uncooked
Chicken Breasts -4-6, depending on size
Seasoning to taste -for chicken
Condensed Cream of Celery soup -1 can
Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup -1 can
Water -2 cups

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place rice in bottom of baking dish.
Arrange seasoned chicken on rice.
Mix other ingredients and pour over chicken.
Cook 1 1/2 hours.
I don't generally cook casseroles at all any more, and these recipes don't look like they've aged well.

There's nothing in the carafe or the pitcher in this painting, but I have faith that water and wine will be on offer any minute now. Please join me at the table, and we'll enjoy those lovely flowers and visit with one another in the meantime. Please join me at the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Diary of a Madman


The Diary of a Madman is an 1886 short story by Guy de Maupassant. Wikipedia says this:
In his later years he developed a constant desire for solitude, an obsession for self-preservation, and a fear of death and paranoia of persecution caused by the syphilis he had contracted in his youth. It has been suggested that his brother, Hervé, also suffered from syphilis and the disease may have been congenital. On 2 January 1892, Maupassant tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat, and was committed to the private asylum of Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris, where he died 6 July 1893.

Guy De Maupassant penned his own epitaph: "I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing." He is buried in Section 26 of the Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris.
He was 42 years old at the time of his death.

This story begins,
He was dead -the head of a high tribunal, the upright magistrate whose irreproachable life was a proverb in all the courts of France. Advocates, young counsellors, judges had greeted him at sight of his large, thin, pale face lighted up by two sparkling deep-set eyes, bowing low in token of respect.

He had passed his life in pursuing crime and in protecting the weak. Swindlers and murderers had no more redoubtable enemy, for he seemed to read the most secret thoughts of their minds.

He was dead, now, at the age of eighty-two, honored by the homage and followed by the regrets of a whole people. Soldiers in red trousers had escorted him to the tomb and men in white cravats had spoken words and shed tears that seemed to be sincere beside his grave.

But here is the strange paper found by the dismayed notary in the desk where he had kept the records of great criminals! It was entitled:

WHY?
You can read it online here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dance, Girl, Dance

Dance, Girl, Dance is a 1940 musical film starring Maureen O'Hara, Lucille Ball, Ralph Bellamy, and Maria Ouspenskaya. Ouspenskaya is a treasure, and any movie she's in is worth watching. You can watch it online via this link.

I can't find a trailer, but here's Lucille Ball doing her version of a hula dance:




Senses of Cinema says, "Dance, Girl, Dance is a milestone in the dance film and musical" and says it "could be classed as high camp, but it has much more to offer than this implies".

The New Yorker says,
The movie lives up to its title—its subject really is dancing. Arzner films it with fascination and enthusiasm, and the choreography is marked by the point of view of the spectators and the dancers’ awareness that they’re being watched.
This film is included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 80%. FilmReference.com has an article.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Morning 42


A little something just to see if the walkers are paying attention?

Friday, September 14, 2018

It's a Gift

It's a Gift is a 1934 W.C. Fields comedy. It's a funny movie, and short and easy to watch if you'd just like a taste of this kind of film. Wikipedia says,
the film is perhaps the best example of the recurring theme of the Everyman battling against his domestic entrapment. Historians and critics have often cited its numerous memorable comic moments.


This film is included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Filmsite says it "is often cited as W. C. Fields' best and funniest picture - it is undoubtedly one of the greatest, classic comedies ever made". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Makers

Image from BoingBoing

Makers is a 2009 science fiction novel by Cory Doctorow. There's a strong Disney connection, and I found it interesting, even if I never connected with the characters. You can read it online here. It begins,
Suzanne Church almost never had to bother with the blue blazer these days. Back at the height of the dot-boom, she'd put on her business journalist drag -- blazer, blue sailcloth shirt, khaki trousers, loafers -- just about every day, putting in her obligatory appearances at splashy press-conferences for high-flying IPOs and mergers. These days, it was mostly work at home or one day a week at the San Jose Mercury News's office, in comfortable light sweaters with loose necks and loose cotton pants that she could wear straight to yoga after shutting her computer's lid.

Blue blazer today, and she wasn't the only one. There was Reedy from the NYT's Silicon Valley office, and Tribbey from the WSJ, and that despicable rat-toothed jumped-up gossip columnist from one of the UK tech-rags, and many others besides. Old home week, blue blazers fresh from the dry-cleaning bags that had guarded them since the last time the NASDAQ broke 5,000.

The man of the hour was Landon Kettlewell -- the kind of outlandish prep-school name that always seemed a little made up to her -- the new CEO and front for the majority owners of Kodak/Duracell. The despicable Brit had already started calling them Kodacell. Buying the company was pure Kettlewell: shrewd, weird, and ethical in a twisted way.

"Why the hell have you done this, Landon?" Kettlewell asked himself into his tie-mic. Ties and suits for the new Kodacell execs in the room, like surfers playing dress-up. "Why buy two dinosaurs and stick 'em together? Will they mate and give birth to a new generation of less-endangered dinosaurs?"

He shook his head and walked to a different part of the stage, thumbing a PowerPoint remote that advanced his slide on the jumbotron to a picture of a couple of unhappy cartoon brontos staring desolately at an empty nest. "Probably not. But there is a good case for what we've just done, and with your indulgence, I'm going to lay it out for you now."

"Let's hope he sticks to the cartoons," Rat-Toothed hissed beside her. His breath smelled like he'd been gargling turds. He had a not-so-secret crush on her and liked to demonstrate his alpha-maleness by making half-witticisms into her ear. "They're about his speed."

She twisted in her seat and pointedly hunched over her computer's screen, to which she'd taped a thin sheet of polarized plastic that made it opaque to anyone shoulder-surfing her. Being a halfway attractive woman in Silicon Valley was more of a pain in the ass than she'd expected, back when she'd been covering rustbelt shenanigans in Detroit, back when there was an auto industry in Detroit.

The worst part was that the Brit's reportage was just spleen-filled editorializing on the lack of ethics in the valley's board-rooms (a favorite subject of hers, which no doubt accounted for his fellow-feeling), and it was also the crux of Kettlewell's schtick. The spectacle of an exec who talked ethics enraged Rat-Toothed more than the vilest baby-killers. He was the kind of revolutionary who liked his firing squads arranged in a circle.
*******

SF Site concludes,
This is not, let me stress, a bad book. But it is not as good a book as it might have been, because neither the message nor the story are quite strong enough to make up for the other's weakness, and because all too often Doctorow seems to buy into the American myth he appears to be intending to subvert.
Strange Horizons says, "Makers is a novel. Which is a pity. It's the least interesting aspect of the book. What Doctorow has to say is important and interesting, but the fiction gets in the way." io9 says, "It's a dense, and always interesting reading experience". Kirkus Reviews was disappointed and calls it "strangely lifeless".

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Shadow of Chikara

Shadow of Chikara is a 1977 horror western starring Joe Don Baker, Sondra Locke, Ted Neeley (better known as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar), and Slim Pickens as Virgil Cane. A small group of men, left without anything after the end of the civil war, go in search of the diamonds left in Arkansas hidden by a dead comrade. The party is followed by the mountain's defender. The 1970s hairstyles and attitudes don't let you ever enter the time period supposedly shown, but many older westerns aren't exactly true to the period. The music is too schmaltzy for words. The plot itself is good and moves steadily forward. The characters and acting are fine. If you'd like to be able to see a horror movie but can't abide blood and gore, and if you'd like horror without "jump" scenes, try this one. There's a nice twist at the end.

via Youtube:



Moria gives it 3 out of 5 stars, praises Joe Don Baker, and calls it "an intriguing effort". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas has an article here.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Madame Aline Gibert

Madame Aline Gibert (1887):


by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who died September 9, 1901, at the age of 36 from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis.

His was a sad life, and I'm in no mood to dwell on it. The woman in the painting, on the other hand, looks quite content in that comfortable chair with her paper and cup of coffee. There are instructions at this link to brew the perfect single cup pour-over, which I'm sure is what she's drinking. Here's mine:


On the other hand, if we choose to go out I'll take the fresh Colombian:



Definitely the fresh Colombian. I'm sharing this post at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Join us? All it takes is a post with a drink in it.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Joe's Restaurant


Joe's Restaurant was our choice for a place to eat out in September. We went there on Labor Day. The exterior is nothing special:


but the food is:


I had the catfish plate, as did The Daughter. The Husband had the country ham plate, and The Son-in-Law had the pork tenderloin. The Younger Son had a cheeseburger. The menu had options enough to suit everybody, including steaks, a couple of Italian dishes, salads, vegetables...

We were seated in a glassed-in room that was quite comfortable with plenty of light.


Service was great. I had enough fish left over for The Husband to save for supper that night. The Daughter brought donuts for dessert:


What a fun family holiday!

Sunday, September 09, 2018

City That Never Sleeps

City That Never Sleeps is a 1953 film noir directed by John H. Auer and starring Gig Young and Mala Powers. Chill Wills and Tom Poston are also in this movie.

via Youtube:



The New York Times has a review from the time of the film's release that says, "A half-hearted attempt to document nocturnal Chicago as the "City That Never Sleeps" rarely camouflages the routine crime melodrama". Slant Maggazine gives it 2.5 out of 5 stars and concludes by calling it "A hard-ass noir softened not so much by the sight of gams-centric cheesecake as its quasi-mystical poaching and repurposing on The Naked City’s turf".

Saturday, September 08, 2018

A Dark Brown Dog


A Dark Brown Dog is a 1901 Stephen Crane short story. Such a hard, sad tale! You can read it online here. It begins,
A Child was standing on a street-corner. He leaned with one shoulder against a high board-fence and swayed the other to and fro, the while kicking carelessly at the gravel.

Sunshine beat upon the cobbles, and a lazy summer wind raised yellow dust which trailed in clouds down the avenue. Clattering trucks moved with indistinctness through it. The child stood dreamily gazing.

After a time, a little dark-brown dog came trotting with an intent air down the sidewalk. A short rope was dragging from his neck. Occasionally he trod upon the end of it and stumbled.

He stopped opposite the child, and the two regarded each other. The dog hesitated for a moment, but presently he made some little advances with his tail. The child put out his hand and called him. In an apologetic manner the dog came close, and the two had an interchange of friendly pattings and waggles. The dog became more enthusiastic with each moment of the interview, until with his gleeful caperings he threatened to overturn the child. Whereupon the child lifted his hand and struck the dog a blow upon the head.

Friday, September 07, 2018

The Public Enemy

The Public Enemy is a 1931 pre-code gangster movie directed by William Wellman and starring James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell. It is exactly what you might expect, but you already knew that by the cast list. This is one of those "best" films you see in lists.

part 1:



part 2:




It's listed in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. FilmSite calls it "one of the earliest and best of the gangster films from Warner Bros. in the thirties." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Dark Financial Clouds and Blue Skies

This was written about a week ago:


We're doing the best we can but are sadly failing so far to live within our current means. We do have a pad in the checking account, but that's been gradually shrinking as outgo surpasses income. That just won't do. Plus we've been notified that The Husband's long-term care insurance premium is going to increase by about $45 a month. The one thing I can think of to do -and I hate to do it- is decrease the amount that's deducted from the paycheck for retirement savings.

I realize it's early days yet and we're only a couple of months into these new constraints, but it's frustrating when we cut back so much and it's still not enough. I wish there was a magic way to make this same amount of money go further. I'm not seeing much else we can do to cut expenses.

The dark cloud photo at the top of the post illustrates my current mood. I'd love suggestions and recommendations if anybody has them.

*******

This was written a few days later:

The Husband and I went over the expenses since the income cut-back and think we'll postpone cutting back on pension contributions for now and just continue to watch things. I hadn't taken into consideration that city and county property taxes and an increase in HOA fees that we paid in a lump sum had taken a toll. Things aren't as bad as I feared, and I just need to allow more time for it all to shake down. Patience and persistence, that's what I need. I was fretting, which isn't helpful. So the photo below illustrates my new current, more hopeful mood.

I'd still appreciate any suggestions and recommendations.


The moral is, Don't Panic! Slow and Steady! Persistence is its own reward! And all those other encouraging lessons you've heard a million times but completely ignore when you need them most. If you think things are going bad, reconsider, ask someone what they think, get your mind off of it for a while, have a soothing hot beverage, and come back to the problem when you're refreshed. It's never as bad as you thought it was. Well, almost never.



Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Method Three For Murder


Method Three For Murder is a 1960 Nero Wolfe novella by Rex Stout first published as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post. Archie Goodwin quits, and as he's walking out gets hired by a woman who has found a body. Nero Wolfe insists on helping. This is part of the collection Three at Wolfe's Door and has not been adapted for TV or film that I can find. I'm reading these books as I come across them. The Younger Son has a stash, and right now I'm working through the ones he's loaned me. The are fun, if somewhat dated, light reading. I get a kick out of the characters.

This story takes place in September.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Three Men in a Boat

Photo from krish kedia at SlideShare

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome is an 1889 comic account of a two-week boating holiday on the Thames. From what I've read the tour is reproducible today down to some of the pubs they went to. In observance of T Stands for Tuesday, I'd invite you to join me in a virtual ale at The Barley Mow:

photo by Ian Brackenridge from Wikipedia

from the book:
If you stay the night on land at Clifton, you cannot do better than put up at the "Barley Mow." It is, without exception, I should say, the quaintest, most old-world inn up the river. It stands on the right of the bridge, quite away from the village. Its low-pitched gables and thatched roof and latticed windows give it quite a story-book appearance, while inside it is even still more once-upon-a-timeyfied.
Here are a few more drink-related quotes I liked:
Harris always does know a place round the corner where you can get something brilliant in the drinking line. I believe that if you met Harris up in Paradise (supposing such a thing likely), he would immediately greet you with:

"So glad you've come, old fellow; I've found a nice place round the corner here, where you can get some really first-class nectar."
*******
She was nuts on public-houses, was England's Virgin Queen. There's scarcely a pub. of any attractions within ten miles of London that she does not seem to have looked in at, or stopped at, or slept at, some time or other. I wonder now, supposing Harris, say, turned over a new leaf, and became a great and good man, and got to be Prime Minister, and died, if they would put up signs over the public-houses that he had patronised: "Harris had a glass of bitter in this house;" "Harris had two of Scotch cold here in the summer of `88;" "Harris was chucked from here in December, 1886."

No, there would be too many of them! It would be the houses that he had never entered that would become famous. "Only house in South London that Harris never had a drink in!" The people would flock to it to see what could have been the matter with it.
*******
I reminded him that there was concentrated lemonade in the hamper, and a gallon-jar of water in the nose of the boat, and that the two only wanted mixing to make a cool and refreshing beverage.

Then he flew off about lemonade, and "such-like Sunday-school slops," as he termed them, ginger-beer, raspberry syrup, &c., &c. He said they all produced dyspepsia, and ruined body and soul alike, and were the cause of half the crime in England.

He said he must drink something, however, and climbed upon the seat, and leant over to get the bottle. It was right at the bottom of the hamper, and seemed difficult to find, and he had to lean over further and further, and, in trying to steer at the same time, from a topsy-turvy point of view, he pulled the wrong line, and sent the boat into the bank, and the shock upset him, and he dived down right into the hamper, and stood there on his head, holding on to the sides of the boat like grim death, his legs sticking up into the air. He dared not move for fear of going over, and had to stay there till I could get hold of his legs, and haul him back, and that made him madder than ever.
*******
It took us half an hour's hard labour, after that, before it was properly up, and then we cleared the decks, and got out supper. We put the kettle on to boil, up in the nose of the boat, and went down to the stern and pretended to take no notice of it, but set to work to get the other things out.

That is the only way to get a kettle to boil up the river. If it sees that you are waiting for it and are anxious, it will never even sing. You have to go away and begin your meal, as if you were not going to have any tea at all. You must not even look round at it. Then you will soon hear it sputtering away, mad to be made into tea.

It is a good plan, too, if you are in a great hurry, to talk very loudly to each other about how you don't need any tea, and are not going to have any. You get near the kettle, so that it can overhear you, and then you shout out, "I don't want any tea; do you, George?" to which George shouts back, "Oh, no, I don't like tea; we'll have lemonade instead - tea's so indigestible." Upon which the kettle boils over, and puts the stove out.

We adopted this harmless bit of trickery, and the result was that, by the time everything else was ready, the tea was waiting. Then we lit the lantern, and squatted down to supper.

We wanted that supper.
*******

There's a fun section here about the trials of opening a can of pineapple. I'd heartily recommend this book if you like humorous anecdotes well told.

You can read the entire book online here. The book begins with this:
There were four of us -George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were -bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.

We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it. Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at times, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that HE had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what HE was doing. With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.

It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt.

I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch - hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into - some fearful, devastating scourge, I know - and, before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms," it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Death of an Expert Witness


Death of an Expert Witness is a mystery/detective novel by P. D. James, 6th in a series featuring Adam Dalgliesh. I read these in no particular order. I like the writing and enjoy Dalgliesh. This story takes place in the Autumn.

from the back of the book:
When a young girl is found murdered in a field, the scientific examination of the crime scene is just a routine job for the staff of Hoggart's Forensic Science Laboratory. But nothing could have prepared them for the brutal death of their senior biologist, found murdered in his own laboratory. On the surface, Dr. Lorrimer had been the picture of a bloodless, coldly efficient scientist. Well respected in the scientific community, he was also an authritative figure on the witness stand. Left with countless motives to investigate, Commander Adam Dalgliesh must exhume the secrets of Dr. Lorrimer's laboratory in order to lay bare the murderous motive hidden in one himan heart.
It was adapted for television as a miniseries in 1983 with Roy Marsden as Dalgliesh. This is part 1:



and the rest of the series is available here at Youtube. Once you've tried it, you'll want to have the DVDs. I know I did.

I have read these since I began blogging:

#2 A Mind to Murder
#3 Unnatural Causes
#4 Shroud for a Nightingale
#5 The Black Tower
#7 A Taste for Death
#8 Devices and Desires
#9 Original Sin
#12 The Murder Room
#13 The Lighthouse

and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, which features an appearance by Dalgliesh.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its release, and we watched it again to mark the occasion. Stanley Kubrik directed this film, which was inspired by the Arthur C. Clarke short story "The Sentinel". You can read the short story here. A novel by Clarke and the screenplay by Clarke and Kubrik were written simultaneously. I read the book before I first saw this movie, and I highly recommend you do the same, as I'm told the movie is incomprehensible otherwise. My least favorite part of the film is the classical music part of the score. Other than that I'm a big fan.

trailer:



The New Yorker has a history and a consideration of the plot. FilmSite calls it a masterpiece. io9 says, "One of its most enduring qualities is how open to interpretation it is—over the years, the enigmatic film has inspired some fascinating (and/or delightfully batshit crazy) theories about what it all means. This is exactly what the director intended." Slant Magazine has a positive review.

The BBC opens with this:
It’s been 50 years since the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and we’re still trying to make sense of it. Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction masterpiece is regularly voted as one of the greatest films ever made: BBC Culture’s own critics’ poll of the best US cinema ranked it at number four. But 2001 is one of the most puzzling films ever made, too.
Roger Ebert considers it a Great Movie and closes it by saying,
Only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer or a vast belittling landscape. Most movies are about characters with a goal in mind, who obtain it after difficulties either comic or dramatic. “2001: A Space Odyssey'' is not about a goal but about a quest, a need.
Empire Online concludes, "movies were born for experiences like this." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 92%.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Watchers of Time


Watchers of Time (2001) is the 5th in the Inspector Ian Rutledge book series by Charles Todd. The Inspector is a casualty of WW1 struggling to take back up his civilian career. He is able to hide his shell shock, keeping people at a distance, and is haunted by the Scots soldier he executed on the battlefield.

I pick these up as I find them and am not reading them in order. This one begins in September of 1919.

from the back of the book:
In a marshy Norfolk backwater, a priest is brutally murdered after giving a dying man last rites. For Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge, an ex-officer still recovering from the trauma of war, it looks to be a simple case. Yet the Inspector finds himself uncovering secrets that the local authorities would prefer not to see explored. Rutledge pares away layers of deception to piece together a chain of events that stretches from the brooding marshes to one of the greatest sea disasters in history -the sinking of the Titanic. Who is the mysterious woman who survived it? Only Rutledge can answer those questions... and prevent a killer who'll stop at nothing from striking again.
I have also read the following from this series:
  1. A Test of Wills
  2. Wings of Fire
  3. Search the Dark

Friday, August 31, 2018

Captains Courageous

Captains Courageous is a 1937 film starring Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, and Mickey Rooney. A touching classic film, powerful and a must-see. You can rent it for about $3 here at Youtube.

trailer:



It's included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. FilmSite calls it "One of cinema's greatest classic adventure stories". DVD Talk describes it as "a warm-hearted, old-fashioned, and quaintly corny little adventure story based on a novel by Rudyard Kipling". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 93%.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Happy Prince

The Happy Prince is an Oscar Wilde short story from 1888. You can read it online here or here. It begins:
High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.

He was very much admired indeed. “He is as beautiful as a weathercock,” remarked one of the Town Councillors who wished to gain a reputation for having artistic tastes; “only not quite so useful,” he added, fearing lest people should think him unpractical, which he really was not.

“Why can’t you be like the Happy Prince?” asked a sensible mother of her little boy who was crying for the moon. “The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything.”

“I am glad there is some one in the world who is quite happy,” muttered a disappointed man as he gazed at the wonderful statue.

“He looks just like an angel,” said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks and their clean white pinafores.

“How do you know?” said the Mathematical Master, “you have never seen one.”

“Ah! but we have, in our dreams,” answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.

One night there flew over the city a little Swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed behind, for he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the spring as he was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been so attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her.

“Shall I love you?” said the Swallow, who liked to come to the point at once, and the Reed made him a low bow. So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples. This was his courtship, and it lasted all through the summer.

“It is a ridiculous attachment,” twittered the other Swallows; “she has no money, and far too many relations”; and indeed the river was quite full of Reeds. Then, when the autumn came they all flew away.

After they had gone he felt lonely, and began to tire of his lady-love. “She has no conversation,” he said, “and I am afraid that she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with the wind.” And certainly, whenever the wind blew, the Reed made the most graceful curtseys. “I admit that she is domestic,” he continued, “but I love travelling, and my wife, consequently, should love travelling also.”

“Will you come away with me?” he said finally to her; but the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home.

“You have been trifling with me,” he cried. “I am off to the Pyramids. Good-bye!” and he flew away.

All day long he flew, and at night-time he arrived at the city. “Where shall I put up?” he said; “I hope the town has made preparations.”

Then he saw the statue on the tall column.

“I will put up there,” he cried; “it is a fine position, with plenty of fresh air.” So he alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince.
It was adapted as a short animated film in 1974, voiced by Glynis Johns and Christopher Plummer. You can watch it here:



The story is a classic, and the adaptation is well done.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Adventures of Gallant Bess

Adventures of Gallant Bess is a 1948 contemporary Western starring Cameron Mitchell as a man who hopes his horse's tricks will win him the big prize in a rodeo. John Harmon (Star Trek connection, appearing twice on Star Trek: The Original Series) also appears. Everybody's got an angle.

via Youtube:


This little-known film isn't much-reviewed online. I watched it for Cameron Mitchell, because of course I did.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Still Life with Coffee Pot and Fruit

Still Life with Coffee Pot and Fruit:


by Georges Braque, a French painter who died August 31, 1963, at age 81. I don't have a coffee pot that looks anything like that one, and it looks more like a pitcher to me. Shouldn't a coffee pot have a lid?

You can read more about him and see more of his work here, here at The Art Story, and at The Guggenheim site.

There's an 11-minute technical examination of four of his works -but not the one I've posted- here:



Please join the weekly blogger gathering at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's, where all you have to do is share a drink in your post to participate.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Coffee at the Park


We've had lovely weather lately, with sunshine and highs in the 80s F, so The Husband and I took a few moments to have coffee in the park.

Audubon Park is a large park with several different areas. This time we went to the lake. A bench in the shade, a bit of a breeze, The Husband with me, and coffee. Joy.



I'm glad to have a park this pleasant so close to me.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Big Parade

The Big Parade is a 1925 silent film directed by King Vidor and starring John Gilbert. from Wikipedia: "the film is about an idle rich boy who joins the US Army's Rainbow Division and is sent to France to fight in World War I, becomes a friend of two working class men, experiences the horrors of trench warfare, and finds love with a French girl." I don't tend to like war movies, and yet this is a riveting story.

trailer:



You can watch it online at this link, or watch it here:



Senses of Cinema says,
Filmed seven years after the war when memories of the conflict were still fresh in the minds of its contemporary audiences, The Big Parade is definitely not a pro-war film but neither is it as anti-war as its director once thought.

The New York Times has a review of the DVD release that says,
the film remains a heartfelt but shrewdly judged blend of comedy, romance, action and tragedy — a movie that perfectly embodies the classical Hollywood ideal of providing something to appeal to every member of what, in the 1920s, was a wide public still unsevered by demographic categories.

It's included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%. FilmSite has background and an extensive and detailed plot description. Slant Magazine says, "For all its grandeur, The Big Parade concerns the individual response to forces bigger than any one person".


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Jokester


Jokester is a 1956 short story by Isaac Asimov. It's one of the Multivac stories, and this one is about a master scientist whose current project involves an attempt to understand humor. I remember reading this in junior high school in an anthology of Asimov's short stories. You can't ever go wrong re-reading Asimov, and if you've never read his short stories I envy you just a bit. You can read this one online here. It begins:
Noel Meyerhof consulted the list he had prepared and chose which item was to be first. As usual, he relied mainly on intuition.

He was dwarfed by the machine he faced, though only the smallest portion of the latter was in view. That didn't matter. He spoke with the offhand confidence of one who thoroughly knew he was master.

"Johnson," he said, "came home unexpectedly from a business trip to find his wife in the arms of his best friend. He staggered back and said, 'Max! I'm married to the lady so I have to. But why you?'"

Meyerhof thought: Okay, let that trickle down into its guts and gurgle about a bit.

And a voice behind him said, "Hey."

Meyerhof erased the sound of that monosyllable and put the circuit he was using into neutral. He whirled and said, "I'm working. Don't you knock?"

He did not smile as he customarily did in greeting Timothy Whistler, a senior analyst with whom he dealt as often as with any. He frowned as he would have for an interruption by a stranger, wrinkling his thin face into a distortion that seemed to extend to his hair, rumpling it more than ever.

Whistler shrugged. He wore his white lab coat with his fists pressing down within its pockets and creasing it into tense vertical lines. "I knocked. You didn't answer. The operations signal wasn't on."

Meyerhof grunted. It wasn't at that. He'd been thinking about this new project too intensively and he was forgetting little details.

And yet he could scarcely blame himself for that. This thing was important.

He didn't know why it was, of course. Grand Masters rarely did. That's what made them Grand Masters; the fact that they were beyond reason. How else could the human mind keep up with that ten-mile-long lump of solidified reason that men called Multivac, the most complex computer ever built?

Meyerhof said, "I am working. Is there something important on your mind?"

Friday, August 24, 2018

Japanese War Bride

Japanese War Bride is a 1952 drama about a Korean War vet played by Don Taylor who brings his Japanese bride home to California. Things go about like you'd expect. Cameron Mitchell plays the veteran's older brother. King Vidor directs. The movie is credited by some as having increased racial tolerance in the United States by dealing with interracial marriage.

I would say that for those people who are shocked by the way we treat the immigrants on the border and who say, "That's not who we are," I must disagree. It is who we are. It is who we've always been. Shameful, yes, but it doesn't change the fact to deny it.

part 1:



part 2:




The Densho Encyclopedia calls it "bleak" and says, "In her analysis of the film, Susan Zeiger points out that mainstream reviewers were troubled by the film's stark depiction of racism and that several critics imposed their own views on the film by reading it as a tragedy despite the apparently happy ending." TCM has information.




Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Charterhouse of Parma


The Charterhouse of Parma is an 1839 novel by Stendhal. Wikipedia says it tells "the story of an Italian nobleman in the Napoleonic era and later, it was admired by Balzac, Tolstoy, André Gide and Henry James" and "While in some respects it is a "romantic thriller", interwoven with intrigue and adventures, the novel is also an exploration of human nature, psychology, and court politics." You can read it online here. There's a guide for new readers here. It was adapted as an opera in 1939, for film in 1948, for film again in 1964, and twice for foreign television (1981 and 2012).

You can listen to it here, part 1:



part 2:



Again from Wikipedia: "The novel is cited as an early example of realism, a stark contrast to the Romantic style popular while Stendhal was writing. It is considered by many authors to be a truly revolutionary work."

It's been on my TBR shelf for ages, probably decades, and it was time I approached it. I enjoyed The Red and the Black by this same author, so I was hoping to like it and did. That said, I didn't finish it. I did enjoy it -honest- but life is short, this book is long, and I just drifted away from it somehow...

from the book jacket:
The Encyclopedia Britannica has an article. The New York Times calls it "an epic and yet intimate tale of political intrigue and erotic frustration, set in the (largely fictionalized) princely court of Parma during the author's own time" and says, "Almost since the moment it appeared, in 1839, Stendhal's last completed novel has been considered a masterpiece" and praises the translation I read (pictured at the top of the post).

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Man in the Saddle

Man in the Saddle is a 1951 traditional western film starring Randolph Scott. Cameron Mitchell is also in this movie. I like that the female characters are strong women with stories of their own even though they're both involved in the romance sub-plot. Those old Randolph Scott westerns are classics.


DVD Talk says it "makes for an entertaining 88 minutes with a nice balance of action, romance, and color. The Lone Pine, California locations are put to good use ... the film offers several very good action set pieces" and "the picture is handsomely made". TCM has information.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Printed Rainbow

Printed Rainbow is an award-winning 2006 Indian animated short film. There's a hot cuppa at 1 minute 13 seconds and tea for two at 8 minutes 50 seconds so I'm sharing this for T Stands for Tuesday (a weekly blogger gathering where we share a post with a drink in it). Both the woman in this film and our host Elizabeth share their homes with cats, so that's another connection I'll point out.



It's about a woman who collects matchboxes, and who finds the color for her life there. What an imagination! She inspires me.

We had an hour of rain yesterday, and I took a video to share:



Such a peaceful sound, I think.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Romance of Certain Old Clothes

The Romance of Certain Old Clothes is an 1868 ghost story by Henry James. It begins,
1

Towards the middle of the eighteenth century there lived in the Province of Massachusetts a widowed gentlewoman, the mother of three children, by name Mrs Veronica Wingrave. She had lost her husband early in life, and had devoted herself to the care of her progeny. These young persons grew up in a manner to reward her tenderness and to gratify her highest hopes. The first-born was a son, whom she had called Bernard, in remembrance of his father. The others were daughters – born at an interval of three years apart. Good looks were traditional in the family, and this youthful trio were not likely to allow the tradition to perish. The boy was of that fair and ruddy complexion and that athletic structure which in those days (as in these) were the sign of good English descent – a frank, affectionate young fellow, a deferential son, a patronising brother, a steadfast friend. Clever, however, he was not; the wit of the family had been apportioned chiefly to his sisters. The late Mr William Wingrave had been a great reader of Shakespeare, at a time when this pursuit implied more freedom of thought than at the present day, and in a community where it required much courage to patronise the drama even in the closet; and he had wished to call attention to his admiration of the great poet by calling his daughters out of his favourite plays. Upon the elder he had bestowed the romantic name of Rosalind, and the younger he had called Perdita, in memory of a little girl born between them, who had lived but a few weeks.

When Bernard Wingrave came to his sixteenth year his mother put a brave face upon it and prepared to execute her husband’s last injunction. This had been a formal command that, at the proper age, his son should be sent out to England, to complete his education at the university of Oxford, where he himself had acquired his taste for elegant literature. It was Mrs Wingrave’s belief that the lad’s equal was not to be found in the two hemispheres, but she had the old traditions of literal obedience. She swallowed her sobs, and made up her boy’s trunk and his simple provincial outfit, and sent him on his way across the seas. Bernard presented himself at his father’s college, and spent five years in England, without great honour, indeed, but with a vast deal of pleasure and no discredit. On leaving the university he made the journey to France. In his twenty-fourth year he took ship for home, prepared to find poor little New England (New England was very small in those days) a very dull, unfashionable residence. But there had been changes at home, as well as in Mr Bernard’s opinions. He found his mother’s house quite habitable, and his sisters grown into two very charming young ladies, with all the accomplishments and graces of the young women of Britain, and a certain native-grown originality and wildness, which, if it was not an accomplishment, was certainly a grace the more. Bernard privately assured his mother that his sisters were fully a match for the most genteel young women in the old country; whereupon poor Mrs Wingrave, you may be sure, bade them hold up their heads. Such was Bernard’s opinion, and such, in a tenfold higher degree, was the opinion of Mr Arthur Lloyd. This gentleman was a college-mate of Mr Bernard, a young man of reputable family, of a good person and a handsome inheritance; which latter appurtenance he proposed to invest in trade in the flourishing colony. He and Bernard were sworn friends; they had crossed the ocean together, and the young American had lost no time in presenting him at his mother’s house, where he had made quite as good an impression as that which he had received and of which I have just given a hint.

The two sisters were at this time in all the freshness of their youthful bloom; each wearing, of course, this natural brilliancy in the manner that became her best. They were equally dissimilar in appearance and character. Rosalind, the elder – now in her twenty-second year – was tall and white, with calm gray eyes and auburn tresses; a very faint likeness to the Rosalind of Shakespeare’s comedy, whom I imagine a brunette (if you will), but a slender, airy creature, full of the softest, quickest impulses. Miss Wingrave, with her slightly lymphatic fairness, her fine arms, her majestic height, her slow utterance, was not cut out for adventures. She would never have put on a man’s jacket and hose; and, indeed, being a very plump beauty, she may have had reasons apart from her natural dignity. Perdita, too, might very well have exchanged the sweet melancholy of her name against something more in consonance with her aspect and disposition. She had the cheek of a gipsy and the eye of an eager child, as well as the smallest waist and lightest foot in all the country of the Puritans. When you spoke to her she never made you wait, as her handsome sister was wont to do (while she looked at you with a cold fine eye), but gave you your choice of a dozen answers before you had uttered half your thought.

The young girls were very glad to see their brother once more; but they found themselves quite able to spare part of their attention for their brother’s friend. Among the young men their friends and neighbours, the belle jeunesse of the Colony, there were many excellent fellows, several devoted swains, and some two or three who enjoyed the reputation of universal charmers and conquerors. But the homebred arts and somewhat boisterous gallantry of these honest colonists were completely eclipsed by the good looks, the fine clothes, the punctilious courtesy, the perfect elegance, the immense information, of Mr Arthur Lloyd. He was in reality no paragon; he was a capable, honourable, civil youth, rich in pounds sterling, in his health and complacency and his little capital of uninvested affections. But he was a gentleman; he had a handsome person; he had studied and travelled; he spoke French, he played on the flute, and he read verses aloud with very great taste. There were a dozen reasons why Miss Wingrave and her sister should have thought their other male acquaintance made but a poor figure before such a perfect man of the world. Mr Lloyd’s anecdotes told our little New England maidens a great deal more of the ways and means of people of fashion in European capitals than he had any idea of doing. It was delightful to sit by and hear him and Bernard talk about the fine people and fine things they had seen. They would all gather round the fire after tea, in the little wainscoted parlour, and the two young men would remind each other, across the rug, of this, that and the other adventure. Rosalind and Perdita would often have given their ears to know exactly what adventure it was, and where it happened, and who was there, and what the ladies had on; but in those days a well-bred young woman was not expected to break into the conversation of her elders, or to ask too many questions; and the poor girls used therefore to sit fluttering behind the more languid – or more discreet – curiosity of their mother.

2

That they were both very fine girls Arthur Lloyd was not slow to discover; but it took him some time to make up his mind whether he liked the big sister or the little sister best. He had a strong presentiment – an emotion of a nature entirely too cheerful to be called a foreboding – that he was destined to stand up before the parson with one of them; yet he was unable to arrive at a preference, and for such a consummation a preference was certainly necessary, for Lloyd had too much young blood in his veins to make a choice by lot and be cheated of the satisfaction of falling in love. He resolved to take things as they came – to let his heart speak. Meanwhile he was on a very pleasant footing. Mrs Wingrave showed a dignified indifference to his ‘intentions’, equally remote from a carelessness of her daughter’s honour and from that sharp alacrity to make him come to the point, which, in his quality of a young man of property, he had too often encountered in the worldly matrons of his native islands. As for Bernard, all that he asked was that his friend should treat his sisters as his own; and as for the poor girls themselves, however each may have secretly longed that their visitor should do or say something ‘marked’, they kept a very modest and contented demeanour.

Towards each other, however, they were somewhat more on the offensive. They were good friends enough, and accommodating bedfellows (they shared the same four-poster), betwixt whom it would take more than a day for the seeds of jealousy to sprout and bear fruit; but they felt that the seeds had been sown on the day that Mr Lloyd came into the house. Each made up her mind that, if she should be slighted, she would bear her grief in silence, and that no one should be any the wiser; for if they had a great deal of ambition, they had also a large share of pride. But each prayed in secret, nevertheless, that upon her the selection, the distinction, might fall. They had need of a vast deal of patience, of self-control, of dissimulation. In those days a young girl of decent breeding could make no advances whatever, and barely respond, indeed, to those that were made. She was expected to sit still in her chair, with her eyes on the carpet, watching the spot where the mystic handkerchief should fall. Poor Arthur Lloyd was obliged to carry on his wooing in the little wainscoted parlour, before the eyes of Mrs Wingrave, her son, and his prospective sister-in-law. But youth and love are so cunning that a hundred signs and tokens might travel to and fro, and not one of these three pairs of eyes detect them in their passage. The two maidens were almost always together, and had plenty of chances to betray themselves. That each knew she was being watched, however, made not a grain of difference in the little offices they mutually rendered, or in the various household tasks they performed in common. Neither flinched nor fluttered beneath the silent battery of her sister’s eyes. The only apparent change in their habits was that they had less to say to each other. It was impossible to talk about Mr Lloyd, and it was ridiculous to talk about anything else. By tacit agreement they began to wear all their choice finery, and to devise such little implements of conquest, in the way of ribbons and top-knots and kerchiefs, as were sanctioned by indubitable modesty. They executed in the same inarticulate fashion a contract of fair play in this exciting game. “Is it better so?” Rosalind would ask, tying a bunch of ribbons on her bosom, and turning about from her glass to her sister. Perdita would look up gravely from her work and examine the decoration. “I think you had better give it another loop,” she would say, with great solemnity, looking hard at her sister with eyes that added, ‘upon my honour!’ So they were for ever stitching and trimming their petticoats, and pressing out their muslins, and contriving washes and ointments and cosmetics, like the ladies in the household of the vicar of Wakefield. Some three or four months went by; it grew to be midwinter, and as yet Rosalind knew that if Perdita had nothing more to boast of than she, there was not much to be feared from her rivalry. But Perdita by this time – the charming Perdita – felt that her secret had grown to be tenfold more precious than her sister’s.

One afternoon Miss Wingrave sat alone – that was a rare accident – before her toilet-glass, combing out her long hair. It was getting too dark to see; she lit the two candles in their sockets, on the frame of her mirror, and then went to the window to draw her curtains. It was a gray December evening; the landscape was bare and bleak, and the sky heavy with snow-clouds. At the end of the large garden into which her window looked was a wall with a little postern door, opening into a lane. The door stood ajar, as she could vaguely see in the gathering darkness, and moved slowly to and fro, as if some one were swaying it from the lane without. It was doubtless a servant-maid who had been having a tryst with her sweetheart. But as she was about to drop her curtain Rosalind saw her sister step into the garden and hurry along the path which led to the house. She dropped the curtain, all save a little crevice for her eyes. As Perdita came up the path she seemed to be examining something in her hand, holding it close to her eyes. When she reached the house she stopped a moment, looked intently at the object, and pressed it to her lips.

Poor Rosalind slowly came back to her chair and sat down before her glass, where, if she had looked at it less abstractedly, she would have seen her handsome features sadly disfigured by jealousy. A moment afterwards the door opened behind her and her sister came into the room, out of breath, and her cheeks aglow with the chilly air.

Perdita started. “Ah,” said she, “I thought you were with our mother.” The ladies were to go to a tea-party, and on such occasions it was the habit of one of the young girls to help their mother to dress. Instead of coming in, Perdita lingered at the door.

“Come in, come in,” said Rosalind. “We have more than an hour yet. I should like you very much to give a few strokes to my hair.” She knew that her sister wished to retreat, and that she could see in the glass all her movements in the room. “Nay, just help me with my hair,” she said, “and I will go to mamma.”

Perdita came reluctantly, and took the brush. She saw her sister’s eyes, in the glass, fastened hard upon her hands. She had not made three passes when Rosalind clapped her own right hand upon her sister’s left, and started out of her chair. “Whose ring is that?” she cried, passionately, drawing her towards the light.

On the young girl’s third finger glistened a little gold ring, adorned with a very small sapphire. Perdita felt that she need no longer keep her secret, yet that she must put a bold face on her avowal. “It’s mine,” she said proudly.

“Who gave it to you?” cried the other.

Perdita hesitated a moment. “Mr Lloyd.”

“Mr Lloyd is generous, all of a sudden.”

“Ah no,” cried Perdita, with spirit, “not all of a sudden! He offered it to me a month ago.”

“And you needed a month’s begging to take it?” said Rosalind, looking at the little trinket, which indeed was not especially elegant, although it was the best that the jeweller of the Province could furnish. “I wouldn’t have taken it in less than two.”

“It isn’t the ring,” Perdita answered, “it’s what it means!”

“It means that you are not a modest girl!” cried Rosalind. “Pray, does your mother know of your intrigue? does Bernard?”

“My mother has approved my ‘intrigue’, as you call it. Mr Lloyd has asked for my hand, and mamma has given it. Would you have had him apply to you, dearest sister?”

Rosalind gave her companion a long look, full of passionate envy and sorrow. Then she dropped her lashes on her pale cheeks and turned away. Perdita felt that it had not been a pretty scene; but it was her sister’s fault. However, the elder girl rapidly called back her pride, and turned herself about again. “You have my very best wishes,” she said, with a low curtsey. “I wish you every happiness, and a very long life.”

Perdita gave a bitter laugh. “Don’t speak in that tone!” she cried. “I would rather you should curse me outright. Come, Rosy,” she added, “he couldn’t marry both of us.”

“I wish you very great joy,” Rosalind repeated, mechanically, sitting down to her glass again, “and a very long life, and plenty of children.”

There was something in the sound of these words not at all to Perdita’s taste. “Will you give me a year to live at least?” she said. “In a year I can have one little boy – or one little girl at least...”
You can read the original here. You can read his 1885 version, which has minor changes to a few of the names, here and here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Code 46

Code 46 is a British science fiction film from 2003. Tim Robbins stars. This is a love story in a future dystopian world where travel is regulated and severely restricted. Code 46 is the rule prohibiting genetically incestuous reproduction as genetic relationships are so often unknown due to cloning being a common procedure. I had not heard of this film before coming across it online, and I'm not a fan of romance, but this view of a possible future is striking.

via Youtube:


The New York Times calls it "a somber new dystopian romance" and says,
In the end ''Code 46'' proposes a stark choice between comfort and freedom, between the managed abundance of Shanghai (and Seattle, where William lives with his wife and son) and the anarchy and danger of afuera. It is also a choice between the luxury of forgetting and the keenness of memory.
Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 4 stars and describes it as "a 92-minute, color-coded mood enhancer boiling over with provocative ideas and unsettling imagery." The Guardian calls it "an eerie fantasy, set not so much in the generic "future" of sci-fi but in an alternative present" and a "resounding, success for this uniquely talented director."

Empire Online closes with this: "An understated yet oddly affecting sci-fi romance which offers a glimpse of a disturbing and all-too-credible future." Roger Ebert gives it a mixed review and concludes, "the movie is more successful at introducing the slang and science of the future than incorporating it into a story." Rotten Tomatoes critics rating is 51%.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Moontide

Moontide is a 1942 crime film, a type of precursor to film noir. It stars Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Thomas Mitchell and Claude Rains. The cast is wonderful. I'm particularly a fan of both Gabin and Rains. Gabin hated our studio system so much he took himself back to France and focused his career there.

via Youtube:


The New York Times in a review at the time of the film's release, opens with this:
The strapping masculine charm of tough Jean Gabin, oft-time called "the Spencer Tracy of French pictures," which heretofore has been limited to his native Gallic films, is now being wholesaled to American audiences by Twentieth Century-Fox in the actor's first Hollywood venture, "Moontide," which came last night to the Rivoli. And "wholesaled" is just the participle, for seldom has an actor's frank allure been quite as deliberately and as obviously dished up in amplitude as is Mr. Gabin's strange enchantment in this ponderously moody film.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin

Update: R.I.P Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin is reported to be on hospice, although I'm hearing that she is alert and enjoying her family and friends. I'd just like to lift up a few videos as a tribute to this Memphis-born musician. Enjoy these offerings from The Queen of Soul while you wish her well.

Respect (1967):



Chain of Fools (1967):



(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (1967):



Think (1968):



A Rose Is Still a Rose (1998):



Here she is performing at the White House in 2015:



Wikipedia says she is "the most charted female artist in the [Billboard] chart's history" and that "Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time".


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Justice League

Justice League is a 2017 superhero movie, the next in a series following Batman v Superman. I liked this one better than the previous effort. The acting is just as good, and the action sequences and music are better. It also has more -and more awkward- humor, I think because of complaints of the lack of funny lines in its predecessor. It won't become my favorite superhero movie, but it's certainly better than the one it followed and a lot of fun to watch.

trailer:



Roger Ebert's site calls it "light on its feet, sprinting through a super-group's origin story in less than two hours, giving its ensemble lots to do, and mostly avoiding the self-importance that damaged previous entries in this franchise" and "an ensemble adventure that’s nearly as satisfying (and humble in its aims) as the “Avengers” movies". Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 74%.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Dining Room

The Dining Room (1886-1887):


by Paul Signac, who died from septicemia on August 15, 1935, at 71 years of age. I would love to have coffee out of one of those lovely cups and sit by the light of that window. I'd be uncomfortable having a servant like that. I've never been part of a family -or even visited one- that had someone who served at meals.

You can see more of his work here, and his work is worth any time you spend looking at it.

I'm linking this post at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's weekly blogger gathering, where all you need is a drink reference to participate.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Two Eyes, Twelve Hands


Two Eyes, Twelve Hands is a 1957 award-winning Hindi film about a prison guard who takes six murderers from the prison where he works and attempts to rehabilitate them. His superior has agreed to the experiment, but if he fails everything he has will be forfeit to the state. This is an inspiring story of faith in human nature, and it's worth watching if just for the music.

You can watch it online with English subtitles at this link. I can't find clips or a trailer to embed.

The Hindustan Times calls it "An inspirational film endorsing prison reform and propounding the philosophy that even the most hardened, seemingly soul dead criminal can be softened, rectified, amended, and thus rehabilitated." Prison Movies calls it "a blithely optimistic film".