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April 12, 2018:

ONE CHARACTER IN SEARCH OF A DAY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, once again I’m getting to these here notes late but I have a good excuse.  Yes, you heard it here, Bruce has an excuse: I was working at the piano and finally, after an entire day of trying different things, found a tune that I like and that’s right for the scene I’m working on – trying to take a rather long monologue and turn it into an atmospheric short song, keeping only a bit of the talking.  So, once I found it, I wrote some lyrics, some good, some just dummy, and had to record it so I don’t forget anything.  But now, here I am and I shall write these here notes.

Yesterday was a day, kind of a One Character in Search of a Day kind of day.  It was a neither here nor there day that was neither here nor there.  I got seven hours of sleep, got up, did the usual late morning things – answered e-mails and such, and after a time I went to the mail place and picked up a couple of packages, one of which was the fixed hardcover. Well, they fixed the book itself but the jacket, instead of being glossy, was a matte finish and it looked terrible.  So, I got my gal on the phone and she assured me it was just that printer and that my new order will be coming from the good printer.  Still, she’s going to have a talk with them so they don’t do it again. Then I had a chicken Caesar salad for my main meal o’ the day.  After that, I came directly home.

Once here, I did some work at the piano and on the computer, had more telephonic conversations, chose a few songs, got invited to a Friday night dinner at Muse Margaret’s, and listened to the Saint-Saens piano concertos, which are pretty great, I must say, especially in this recording by pianist Jean-Philippe Collard with Andre Previn conducting.  It also happens to be a beautifully engineered recording.  There was more forward momentum on an upcoming project, and I found a new show for us to do at some point in the coming months, an unusual show that will be presented interestingly.  I’m still hoping to announce two more titles on Monday, one soundtrack, one show-related album.  Then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched two more Twilight Time Blu and Rays.  The first Twilight Time Blu-ray was a motion picture entitled The Hospital, written by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Arthur Hiller, and starring George C. Scott, Diana Rigg, and a crazy wonderful supporting cast of stellar actors.  I’ve always liked The Hospital – it’s completely over the top with Mr. Chayefsky in full rant and outrage mode (as he would be a few years later with Network) and Hiller gets the job done.  Mr. Scott is a true life force and his performance got him an Oscar nomination (losing to Gene Hackman for The French Connection). Chayefsky won an Oscar for his script. This is an MGM/UA transfer given to Twilight Time.  It’s yet another old master that really doesn’t look all that good, but I’m happy Twilight Time took the chance and issued it, because it’s nice to have the Blu-ray.  But MGM/UA is simply hopeless and simply don’t care about their assets and that is why they’re in the constant state they are in.  So, if you like the film you should absolutely make the purchase – the cast alone – Francis Sternhagen, Nancy Marchand, Barnard Hughes, Richard Dysart, Robert Walden, and so many others – even Dennis Dugan can be glimpsed walking by the camera in one brief shot – you just don’t have those actors today and you certainly don’t have writers like Mr. Chayefsky today, although I’m sure that Mr. Sorkin fancies that he is.

Then I watched the second Twilight Time Blu-ray, entitled Husbands and Wives, another Woody Allen film, this time with Mia Farrow (the year before the break-up), Sydney Pollack (in the Alan Alda role and just as irritating), Judy Davis, Liam Neeson, Juliette Lewis and others. I saw this film the day it opened and pretty much hated every second of it.  This, for me, was Woody at his worst – he’s always imitated other filmmakers’ films in one way or another – Stardust Memories being his 8 1/2, his Bergman “tributes”, Radio Days being is Amarcord, Purple Rose of Cairo being a cross between Sherlock, Jr. and The White Sheik, his Kafka/Lang movie Shadows and Fog, and on and on.  Here we have some arch narration in the style of those French New Wave films from the late 50s and 60s, there’s lots of shaky cam, and some of the most irritating and whiny characters to ever populate one film.  Two or three times Mr. Allen lets forth with a laugh out loud one-liner, but otherwise you just want to punch everyone in the face.  Miss Farrow is the worst of it with Mr. Pollack and Miss Davis in close second.  Mr. Neeson escapes unscathed as does Miss Lewis.  I really wanted to like it better this time around but I did not.  That’s just one man’s opinion, of course, and many love the film and for those who do this is yet another stellar Sony transfer that’s just perfection.  Were it only MGM/UA had this kind of care in their presentations, but alas they most assuredly do not.

After that, I had about two ounces of bow tie pasta left over so I made that, put a bit of butter and cheese on it and that was my evening snack.  It was so good I wish I’d made more – this wasn’t more than a few bites.  Then I listened to some music, went to the piano and worked for an hour during which the good tune arrived, then I took a hot shower and that was that.

Today, I have a meeting with Kay Cole, then I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, continue choosing songs, and hopefully find our final performer.  Then at around five I’ll head up to Northridge and find somewhere fun to eat – I’ve had two recommendations so far – and then I’m seeing a dress rehearsal for South Pacific, which I’m looking forward to.  I will, of course, have a full report.

Tomorrow is the Muse Margaret dinner, not sure what’s happening on Saturday, and on Sunday I may go see an evening of one-acts.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a meeting, hopefully pick up packages, choose songs, sup, and see a show.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Mr. George C. Scott? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, hoping today won’t be one character in search of a day.

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