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April 18, 2020:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, in the interesting coincidence department, a department we visited just yesterday in the notes, here’s a funny one.  I happened to watch a motion picture on DVD last night, a western motion picture that I really like, called 7 Men from Now, starring Randolph Scott, Gail Russell, Lee Marvin, and other good character people.  It begins with an annoying song, but then settles down and is quite a nice score by a man named Henry Vars.  This was the first of the seven films Scott made with director Budd Boetticher, but all the others have scores I don’t love by Heinz Roemheld.  So, I went to the Tube of You and searched Henry Vars and saw immediately where I knew the name from – Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat, which has a really good score.  But there was almost nothing else by him that I could find, save for his most famous work – the theme from Flipper.  But searching for his stuff led me to a Polish composer named Henryk Wars, and I listened to some of his stuff and fell in love with it.  So, I Googled him and guess what?  Henryk Wars had a most interesting career as songwriter, leader of a jazz band, and writer of classical works.  In the year of my birth he moved to the United States and became Henry Vars.  Who knew?  Isn’t that an interesting coincidence?  I’ve seen many films for which he wrote the score without ever knowing he wrote the score.  See if you’ve heard of any of them: Chained for Life (yes, the infamous Hilton Sisters film, which was his first American score), The Big Heat, Man in the Vault, The Unearthly, The Leech Woman, Flipper, and Daktari.  No real “A” films save for 7 Men from Now and The Big Heat, and I suppose Flipper, but a nice career and a wonderfully melodic classical composer.  End of yesterday’s coincidences – well, the other coincidence was that yesterday was just like the previous twenty days.

Yesterday was just like the previous twenty days.  It came and went, no necessarily in that order.  I did get eight hours of sleep, so that was good.  I felt an allergy attack coming on, but I took a pill right away and it never hit. Once up, I answered e-mails, had a telephonic conversation and alleviated one of the many problems I’m dealing with, so that was good.  Then I went and picked up one little package and one envelope of no importance.

I came directly home and made the faux chicken stroganoff over rice and it was very good and I ate up every morsel of it.  It was filling but not crazily so.  Then I did some work at the computer, at the piano, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on a German import DVD of an American film titled Der Gentleman Zinker, which according to Google translate means The Gentleman Zinker.  I’m not quite sure how they came up with that title, since the film is called Kaleidoscope.  I saw the movie on its opening day and several times thereafter.  It was a quirky sort of caper comedy, mostly filmed in mod London and starring Warren Beatty and Susannah York, both of whom are completely charming.  The script is witty and fun and so is the plot, and it’s well directed by Jack Smight.  It does fizzle out after the big poker game, but I forgave it then and forgive it now.  Clive Revill plays York’s father, which is fun since he was only nine years older than she was.  Here’s a fun tidbit for you – the producer, Elliot Kastner insisted on Sandra Dee for the lead.  Smight thought it a terrible idea, since the character is a Brit and saner heads prevailed and Dee was paid off.  I watched this when I got it about eight or nine years ago and enjoyed it and I enjoyed it all over again.  Warner Archive has since released it on DVD and I wonder if it’s the same transfer, because it sure could use a better one.

Then I took a twenty-minute drive, came home, and then watched 7 Men from Now.  Of the seven Randolph Scott/Budd Boetticher films, this remains my favorite.  The script by Bert Kennedy is a fine one, the plot is interesting and typical for the Scott films, and I just love Scott and Lee Marvin is great, too.  Best of all, it runs a tight seventy-seven minutes.  The transfer could use another go and I’m ever hopeful these Batjac pictures, especially The High and the Mighty and this one will come out on Blu-ray.

After that, I made the tuna pasta salad, but decided to hold off on putting any mayonnaise in it until today.  I found that putting it in the night before results in dryness and you end up putting more in, so I think this will work better and I’m pretty sure it’s the way I used to do it.

Then I listened to music and relaxed.

Today, I think I’ll get up when I get up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat half the tuna pasta salad throughout the day and evening, and I’m going to do some garage clean-up and look for more DVDs I’ve never watched.  I know I have a whole slew of Edgar Ulmer films I’ve never seen, so I’ll see if I can find those and whatever else looks like fun.

Tomorrow is more of the same and some planning, too, and then next week I do have some work I must do and I’m praying for a couple of larger miracles.  What a time we’re all going through.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, get up when I get up, do whatever needs doing, hopefully pick up packages, eat, do garage cleanup, look for DVDs to watch, and then watch and listen.  Today’s topic of discussion: Who are your all-time favorite film composers and which scores do you like best?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had another interesting coincidence.

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