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March 31, 2020:

DISCOVERING A CLASSIC

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, isn’t it funny how certain classic motion pictures elude you your entire life?  But before I get to that important question and answer, has anyone noticed that today is the last day of March?  And that must mean that tomorrow will be a new month I like to call April, and it is my fervent hope and prayer that April will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creavity, and all things bright and beautiful.  And sanity.  And no more panic and hysteria.  I watched one such classic last evening, entitled All the King’s Men, starring Mr. Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, Sheppard Strudwick, Mercedes McCambridge, and a host of great character actors, including an early performance by Paul Ford.  I don’t know why I’ve avoided it like the plague.  I love Crawford and Ireland, certainly.  I suppose there’s no rhyme or reason for it.  I owned it on DVD and never even put it in the player.  I’ve owned it on the Twilight Time Blu-ray and never even put it in the player.  Well, last night I rectified all that, oh yes, I rectified all that.  And guess what?  It IS a classic any way you slice it.  Crawford is brilliant and deserved his Best Actor Oscar.  And John Ireland has never been better.  But all the performances are kind of perfect.  Has there ever been as quirky an actress as Mercedes McCambridge?  In this film, she gives the greatest reaction to being slapped in the history of film.  It’s absolutely unique and one wonders if Mr. Ireland actually hit her too hard – but it’s just priceless and I clapped loudly in appreciation.  Robert Rossen’s direction is great.  Legend has it that the film was a 250-minute disaster because Rossen couldn’t seem to find the movie in the morass of footage he shot.  So, he brought in another editor, Robert Parrish, and told him to save it, suggesting he watch each scene, find the center of the scene in terms of what it was about and cut everything before and after.  Whatever was done, the film flies by and the montages are great.  The transfer from Sony is great.

Now I have no idea where I am, notes-wise, because I have gone out of order and going out of order creates chaos and lack of balance.  Yesterday, I got three hours of sleep initially, got up, took a Pepcid and a couple of hours later, went back to bed for about four hours.  Once up, I wrote a little, then went to the mail place and picked up an important envelope, which thankfully arrived early so that I don’t have to fret about it.  I came right home, and then ordered some Mexican food – two beef tacos and four taquitos.  It arrived very quickly, about fifteen minutes later.  I was so full after the two tacos, but I ate the four taquitos and then was really full – really, really full, like really full.  I sat on my couch like so much fish, dozed off for a few minutes, woke up, and surprise of surprises – was still full, like really, really, really full.

Then I finished writing the essay for the book.  I’d already almost finished, and then I just tore it apart, moving stuff around, adding, deleting, until it had shape and forward momentum and clarity.  I think it’s pretty okay.  I’ll look at it again today, do any final futzing and finessing I deem necessary, and then I’ll send it in, a day early.  Interestingly, it couldn’t be longer than 1500 words – very strict about that.  It came in at 1499.  You can’t really go into a whole lot of detail in 1500 words, but I crammed as much as I could and tried to give it my personality.  Then I sat on my couch like so much fish and watched All the King’s Men.

After that, I had some pretzels and some gummy Lifesavers and a couple of bite-size Snickers and listened to music.  Oh, I put up the complete video of A Carol Christmas, so for anyone who’s interested, you can now see that show.  The little caveat is that it was taped on the second week of shows, before we put in several changes that I asked for having watched the first six performances, most importantly a long speech for Carol after the nightmare sequence, where she realizes what kind of a person and how she needs to change.  As you’ll see, that moment is literally one line and she’s changed.  I felt strongly she needed a speech to get her there, and Doug finally wrote one and then Hartley Powers, the actress playing Carol, and I finessed it and in it went for week three and it made all the difference in the world.  Here is the direct link to the video and I hope you’ll enjoy it.  I certainly enjoyed seeing it again over a year later.

https://youtu.be/2LRMqTFeZXs

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll futz and finesse and send in the essay, I’ll do some work at the piano, I’ll eat (probably here, probably pasta of some sort), I’ll watch something, I’ll listen, and I’ll ponder some imponderables.

Tomorrow, I have some banking to do at three separate banks and I’m hoping that goes easily and quickly.  Then I’ll come home, unless I stop at Jerry’s Deli and get a little lox, a couple of bagels, and some cream cheese for my meal – we shall see.  Then it’s home, James.  I’m hoping I can sign off on the galley in the next day or two so that can then go to the printers, and then the rest of the week is more of the endless same.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, futz and finesse and get the essay on its merry way, do some work at the piano, eat, watch, listen, and ponder imponderables.  Today’s topic of discussion: What classic films have you never gotten around to seeing? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have discovered a classic film after all these years.

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