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December 7, 2008:

RAISE A RUCKUS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I do believe this is my last day at my current age. Therefore, today I shall raise a ruckus, I shall be a parade, I shall shout to the world that this is my last day at my current age. I don’t know why I’ll be doing all that, really, since tomorrow I will be OLDER, but I just feel one should raise a ruckus on the last day of an age. Of course, tomorrow I shall raise a whole different type of ruckus, the new age ruckus. But why speak of tomorrow when we have not spoken of yesterday or even today? We have plenty of time to speak of tomorrow tomorrow and today today, but we cannot speak of yesterday yesterday for yesterday is today. How metaphysical. Metaphysical – wasn’t that an Olivia Newton John song? Speaking of Olivia Newton John, yesterday was a day in which I just didn’t do very much. I got up early, did the long jog, did a couple of errands, came home, went out, got some foodstuffs to eat, came home, answered some e-mails, had a couple of telephonic calls, set some meetings for next week. I sat in the Jacuzzi and eased my aching muscles, and then I did a few things on the computer, after which I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Yesterday, I watched one motion picture on DVD, one three-part TV show on DVD, and one hour-long TV show on DVD. The one motion picture on DVD was entitled Classe Tous Risques, a French motion picture, the first film of the wonderful director Claude Sautet. This is a crime film, and a masterful one. It’s about a criminal who’s escaped from prison and has been on the run for several years. He has a wife and two little boys and is trying to return to France. Things don’t go right, in fact, they go as wrong as they can and therein lies the film. It’s masterfully written and directed, and beautifully photographed by Ghislain Cloquet (the cameraman of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort). Lino Ventura as the criminal who’s simply tired of running, is superb, as always – a great actor at the top of his game. In fact, his game got better and better as the years went by. It’s a very gray film, which befits its mood. I love these types of films, these character studies, and this one was completely new to me and I loved it. The transfer from Criterion is very nice, but the aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 is sometimes very awkward, with tops of heads cut in half. Now, as most of you know, I am a stickler for framing, and know that most people watching films don’t understand framing at all – I know that in close-ups tops of heads are frequently missing as the cameraman is trying to keep the eyes in a proper place in the frame. But in medium to wide shots when heads are literally missing the entire forehead and sometimes even the eyes, I figure something is off. Films in France did not go widescreen as fast as they did in the US. For example, Breathless, the Godard film, which was made a year after this one, is in Academy ratio. I’m sure that if this film played the US then it was indeed run in widescreen, but I really wonder if it was shot that way? I then watched a three-part TV show entitled The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, part of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color (in one of those Disney limited edition tins, most of which are readily available and never sell out – this one has, apparently). I never saw this when it was aired or anytime thereafter, but it was so popular that a slightly trimmed version was released theatrically in Europe. They knew it was a possibility from the start, and the show was actually filmed in widescreen, which is the way it’s presented here, with Walt’s intros in standard TV ratio. What a splendid show it is – a real Robin Hood-esque adventure yarn shot on location in England with terrific actors, led by Patrick McGoohan, who’s terrific as the Vicar/Scarecrow. I was hoping that his character’s first name would have been Randy, so he could be the Randy Vicar, but alas it isn’t. The whole thing moves along at a steady clip and the transfer looks great. And I really liked the score by Gerard Schurmann. Very entertaining! I then watched my favorite Alfred Hitchcock Hour TV show, and, in fact, one of my favorite TV episodes ever – An Unlocked Window. None of these hour-long Hitchcock episodes have been deemed worthy of release here in the States, but in Germany there are now two volumes of them – this episode is in volume two. I’ve only seen this show broadcast on TV and cable, so it’s a revelation to see it on this DVD obviously coming right off a camera negative. The show is a masterpiece of suspense, about a man who is strangling nurses. I cannot explain to you how shocking this episode was when it originally aired, and it’s still shocking in its own way. The cast is fine, and the great black-and-white photography is by the amazing Stanley Cortez. The show has an original and great score by Bernard Herrmann. It’s nice to see this uncut finally and with all the bumpers intact. I’m looking forward to watching other episodes in this wonderful box set.

What am I, Ebert and Roeper all of a sudden? Why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I need to get my beauty sleep so I have enough energy to raise a ruckus.

Today I shall be raising a ruckus, as soon as I figure out exactly what a ruckus IS. I shall, of course, do the long jog, I shall not eat junk food or market food today – I shall either make something fun or bring something in from a nice restaurant. I’ll be watching more DVDs and listening to more CDs – I’ve just finished listening to Liza Minnelli, the complete A&M recordings – a very interesting experience, especially the first two albums, which are terrific.

Tomorrow, of course, I shall be OLDER, but I shall still do the long jog. I’m being taken out for lunch AND dinner, so lunch will be very light so I can eat a substantial dinner. Tuesday I’m lunching with Mr. Barry Pearl, and the rest of the week is filled with breakfast and dinner meetings.

And now, let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s all break out the cheese slices and ham chunks, let’s all dance the Hora and the box step, for today is the birthday of our very own beloved dear reader Jane, who I’ve known since she was fifteen or something. So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own beloved dear reader Jane, who I’ve known since she was fifteen or something. On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN DEAR READER JANE, WHO I’VE KNOWN SINCE SHE WAS FIFTEEN OR SOMETHING!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do the long jog, watch DVDs, listen to CDs, eat something fun and raise a ruckus. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we all kick up our collective heels and raise a ruckus.

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