Ah, yes, I have been negligent, leaving this blog un-updated since
Christmas Humphrey's Day, the only day of the year you're allowed and even encouraged to Bogart that joint. I had meant to write something fuller on the legacy of The Hardest Working Man In Showbusiness, but leaving the update so long in the making it hardly seems necessary now; you've probably been bombarded with pieces doing the same, so I'll let the task pass. So, instead, a few bits and pieces for your amusement, bemusement, and/or contusement. (No such word as contusement you say? Well, blast ye then. Snort.)
- Those of you running programmes like Blog Torrent whom are also interested in Old Movies might find your fill of neat Out-Of-Copyright material at this site. It offers some interesting curios and even a few minor classics, including Nosferatu, The Little Shop of Horrors, some Buster Keaton shorts, the Spencer Tracy Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Leslie Howard's The Scarlet Pimpernel, Helen Hayes in A Farewell to Arms, and that bizarre Roger Corman proto-horror film called The Terror, which features Jack Nicholson as (believe it or not) a Napoleonic soldier going up against Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. This should prove a site to watch: in the next several years, a lot of classic movies will fall out of copyright into the public domain.
Also of interest, BTW: Bluebeard, starring a young, or young-ish, John Carradine, sire of all those other Carradines and one of the great, gaunt character actors they just don't make anymore. He had one of the great voices for the movies (many nicknamed him simply "The Voice"), and he starred in some of the best--- and some of the very, very, VERY worst--- movies ever made, including Les Miserables, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, Jesse James, Blood and Sand, The Kentuckian, The Court Jester, The Ten Commandments (as Aaron), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Shootist. He was also the great-granddaddy of the horror-movie stars that eventually came to include Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. I point all of this out because, and this is a rare thing to say, he was an actor for whom there is no modern heir or equivalent. Sometimes I wonder if there's be a market out there for me just to teach courses on the great character actors....
- It seems the Vatican is suddenly and not a little oddly prizing Oscar Wilde. There are only about a dozen puns to be made here, all of which I'll surprise you by leaving alone.
- RK already ran with this article on his blog, but the central issue (to me, at least) warrants calling it to your attention here, too. The issue? The spinelessness of the French intellectual establishment, which, like its North American counterpart, prefers to cluck in disapproving qualifications rather than affirm the importance of unmolested free speech. Evidently Voltaire's been re-written; the establishment will not only disapprove of what you say, but it will defend to YOUR death your right to say it. This timorousness is more than disgusting. It is, in fact, a tacit collaborating with the terrorists of intellectual freedom, an endorsement by indifference. Vichy-ssoise anyone? *Harrumph*
For what it's worth, I'm sure the North American academy would have respond no better.
- Which reminds me: the less I say about this article, the better, right? Sipping a bit from some leek and tater soup of my own, I'd like to aver that all women in positions of authority are sage, wise and benevolent, and never ever make the same mistakes we scumbag men have made and continue to make every second of the waking day. Right? Right right.
- And from the "Oh-My-Gawd" file, this story gives new meaning to the term "dead letter office."
And finally, over here, my old friend Zelda wondered, "What do you get someone who is turning 99?" "A calendar," she and her good hubby decided, which has to be an unintentionally diabolical mixed-message. Ms Barrett Browning comes too comically to mind: How do we love thee, let us count(-down) your days.... (We shall but love thee better, indeed!) It's better than a stop-watch, anyway. (One could riff on this for ages: Gone In Sixty Seconds? "All this and Andy Rooney!")
Then again, cold-hearted bastard that I am, I might have been tempted to give an egg-timer, with the note, "Remember when it only took three minutes to get ha---" Er, um, never mind.