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January 8, 2008:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we’re in our second week of the New Year and today I will be delivering the first fifty-one pages of my new book to my muse Margaret. I am hopeful she’ll enjoy it and think it’s worth continuing. So, the first week has certainly been a productive one, writing-wise. I think the above is called a preamble to the actual notes. We’ve never had an actual preamble to the actual notes and now no one can say we haven’t had an actual preamble because we have. Damn them, damn them all to hell. I really must get a haircut this week – my hair is most unkempt and is very hard to manage. It flips, it curls, it sticks straight up in the air and people are beginning to look at me askance, and we can’t have THAT, can we? Has anyone noticed just how smoothly we’ve moved from the actual preamble to the actual notes? There is one thing I’d like to know: If there’s a preamble is there also a postamble? I guess not, because Word has just put a big, ugly red squiggle under the word postamble, which means that in the Word universe such a word does not exist. Where was I? Oh, yes, a haircut, a desperately needed haircut. I shall call the salon this very day and book an appointment with our very own beloved Teddy. Speaking of a haircut, yesterday was a day in which I did various and sundried things. I got up, gave some notes, wrote a few pages, revised earlier pages, made some excisions on earlier pages, cooked up some yummilicious halibut for the meal o’ the day, wrote some more, set up a couple of lunches, made arrangements for the broken dishwasher to be replaced by the end of the week, and did a little work at the piano. I’ve still got one song to play around with for the first act of the musical I’m mentoring – I’m trying to clean up the lyric and give the song a little arrangement and structure. We still need to set one person for the reading, which we’ll do in the next day or so. I may bring in a pianist to help play the things that are difficult. I have no problem playing most of it, as I’ve either completely revised music and used mine own, or I’ve done arrangements that are easy for me to play. But there are a couple of things that I haven’t done much to and I’m not yet comfortable trying to play them. I only left the house once, to go and check for mail at the mail place. I finally stopped writing at about five, and then did a few more cleanups, then printed out the pages. I then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled The Big Combo, a mid-50s film noir from director Joseph H. Lewis (he of Gun Crazy fame), starring Richard Conte, Cornell Wilde, Jean Wallace, Brian Donleavy, and Earl Holliman and Lee Van Cleef as two hoods who seem very close. I like but don’t love The Big Combo. Each time I go back to it I’m always hoping I’ll find more to love in it, but I always feel the same. It certainly has all the ingredients – great moody camerawork by the brilliant John Alton, a terrific score by David Raksin, excellent direction by Mr. Lewis, and a perfect cast. But the parts are better than the whole for me, unlike Mr. Lewis’s Gun Crazy, where all the elements work perfectly. It sure would be nice to get a better transfer – this particular DVD (which is not one of the PD copies floating around), is a little too dark for its own good, and it’s full frame. Since it was shot in 1954, it most certainly was not shown in that ratio, and the fact is that UCLA apparently has a stunning restoration of this film in the ratio of 1:66 (even though it would have been shown in 1:85 in the US). There’s just too much headroom in the full frame transfer and it subverts almost all the framing.

What am I, Ebert and Roeper all of a sudden? Why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because we’ve now had the preamble and part one of the notes, and now while we switch to the next section we have a brief intermission and then part two.

I wonder if we should have a preamble to this section, too? You know, just to be consistent, preamble-wise. Too late.

Today, this morning, in fact, I shall be delivering fifty-one pages of a new book to muse Margaret. After that, I’ll may or may not have a lunch, and I will probably mush on and finish the chapter I’m in the middle of. I also have a few things to organize, and I have a bunch of stuff I have to Xerox.

I will also work at the piano and finish the little bit I have to do. And I may go to Amoeba and trade in more stuff and get some new DVDs to watch.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, Xerox, deliver pages, write, perhaps have a lunch, and do a few errands and whatnot. Today’s topic of discussion: What out of the mainstream films do you love enough to recommend to everyone? Films you feel people should take a chance on – films that you feel are completely neglected gems. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, as we bid a fond farewell to our one and only use of the preamble.

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