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June 21, 2008:

HEADLIGHTS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, the saga of the air conditioning has hopefully reached its happy conclusion. The Handy Man’s Men arrived, ascertained that the problem indeed was not with the air conditioning at all but with the breaker, whose wires were completely fried to a crisp. They brought some new wires, installed them and I finally could turn on the A/C around four o’clock. At that time, the temperature in the house was a balmy eighty-four. It took about four hours to cool the house down to a pleasant seventy-three. And what about headlights? Was that a non sequitur or a segue? I have to stop right here and ask about headlights, namely why are half the cars on the road at ten-thirty in the morning on a 108 degree summer’s day, using their fershluganah headlights? Please don’t tell me it makes their cars easier to see – I have no difficulty seeing any car at ten-thirty in the morning on a 108 degree summer’s day, nor at any other time of the day in any kind of weather, save for fog and rain. So, why are they doing this? Is it fashionable? The sorts of people doing it are driving everything from SUVs to old jalopies. It just makes no sense to me on any level and it actually irks me and I have the urge to pull one of these yokels over and ask for an explanation and maybe one of these fine days I just will. If we need headlights during the day, perhaps I should keep the lights on outside my house, just in case someone might miss the old home environment. Perhaps the city should light all the street lamps during the day, you know, so people see the streets really clearly in the bright sunlight. I’m sure someone will have an explanation and I’m sure it will make no sense whatsoever. I now return you to the notes. Speaking of the notes, yesterday was a hot day. I had to do an early annoying errand and then I went to Nate ‘n Al’s and had their incredible pastrami sandwich, which made me forget about the annoying errand. I came back home, the air conditioning problem was solved, I had several long telephonic conversations with interesting people, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished watching a motion picture on DVD entitled Fanny, starring Miss Leslie Caron, Mr. Horst Buchholz, Mr. Charles Boyer, and Mr. Maurice Chevalier. I remember not loving the film when I saw it the week it opened, but I also remember it being spectacularly beautiful to watch. And I remember loving the musical score, which I went out and purchased immediately. At that time I didn’t really know Fanny had originally been a Broadway musical, but I found out soon thereafter. The film score was adapted from the songs of the musical, said songs written by Harold Rome. The arrangements of Harry Sukman, and the orchestrations were spectacular and I played the album to death, and I also bought every cover version of the main theme, my favorite of them being George Greely’s, if I remember correctly. I had either a VHS or a laserdisc of the film, but I could never get past the first ten minutes, so I really hadn’t seen the film since it first came out. The film has actually aged well. It’s effectively directed by Joshua Logan, and the actors are all wonderful, especially Mr. Boyer and Mr. Chevalier. The screenplay by Julius J. Epstein is really quite good, and I was quite taken with the whole thing. The transfer is interesting – the color is all there and, at times, gorgeous to behold. But the contrast is milky a lot of the time, the mid to long shots are a bit soft, and ninety percent of the transfer has just a little too much yellow to it – remove that little bit extra yellow and you’d have a very good color transfer. The photography of this film is amazing, by the great Jack Cardiff, and the IB Technicolor 35mm prints were so vivid and sharp I remember it to this day. Were it only that a little more care had been taken it really could have been a fantastic transfer. The film was released by Warners, who lost the rights for reasons that I don’t know – of course, if Warners had done it, they would have drained all the blue and we’d have been left with nothing but the yellow and brown, so I’m grateful it looks as good as it does. The sound has been remixed for 5.1 and it’s okay – the music, of course, sounds great, and the DVD comes with a bonus CD of the soundtrack. Since Image Entertainment released this, I think we know where they got that idea – as the first time they ever released a DVD/soundtrack CD combo was The First Nudie Musical.

After that, I watched a motion picture on TCM entitled Love With The Proper Stranger. In fact, I never miss this film when it’s shown – I just adore it, and I’m sure I’ve written about it many times. Natalie Wood at her best, McQueen at his most lovable, and a great supporting cast, plus a fantastic score by Elmer Bernstein. It’s a little shocking that Paramount has not released this film on DVD and it’s clear from what was shown on TCM that their video master is probably over twenty years old. Might I just suggest to the people at TCM and that great film expert Mr. Robert Osborne, that it’s fine to introduce the film and give us your little uninteresting and frequently factually-challenged tidbits, but what is NOT okay is to tell your audience the entire story of the film. Note to TCM and Mr. Osborne: The idea is not to tell us the entire plot before we watch the movie. Why on Earth would you do that?

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below and let’s have our headlights on as we do so.

Whether coincidence or not, I got an e-mail from the owner of Colony Records yesterday telling me the check had been sent. He did neglect to tell me WHEN the check had been sent, but I’m just assuming that it was most likely sent yesterday. So, here’s hoping it arrives this week. I will, of course, report on it when it does.

Today, I’ll be working with Mr. Kevin Spirtas, going over patter, structure, song placement and all that jazz. We’re not actually going to do any staging until this coming week.

After rehearsal, I’ll do some errands and whatnot, and then relax and watch a DVD or three. I can’t remember if I’m doing anything tomorrow.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, rehearse, do errands and whatnot, and then relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your biggest pet peeves, the things that really set you off and cause you to rant until the cows come home? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we ponder what makes people use their headlights in the bright, bright sunshine.

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