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August 7, 2020:

ARE SNAKES NECESSARY?

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, what is one of the funniest screwball comedies ever made?  Of course, everyone will have their own favorites and choices, but I’ll just mention the one I saw last night because it’s a perfect film with perfect direction, writing, and performances.  It is laugh out loud funny.  In fact, I was enjoying the opening ten minutes, when it cut to the leading man reading a book and the title of the book sent me into fits of giggling because it was just so funny – Are Snakes Necessary?  The person reading it is Henry Fonda, playing a character who has been up the Amazon for a year collecting snakes.  The film is, of course, the divoon The Lady Eve, also starring Barbara Stanwyck in one of her greatest performances.  She is so sexy in this and so subtle – it’s a lesson in great screen acting that every current actress working today should study.  Why?  Because not only is Stanwyck subtle but you can actually hear and understand every word she says.  What a concept.  Of course, the words she’s saying and that everyone else are saying are brilliant, biting, hilarious, and even oddly moving at times, courtesy of Mr. Preston Sturges, who also directed.  Fonda is so adept at comedy in this film, with pratfalls galore, but he, too, is subtle as can be.  The scene where he’s met Stanwyck and ends up in her room with her on a chaise lounge and he on the floor next to her, she rubbing his hair is a classic and all in one take, no cuts.  Add to that the likes of Charles Coburn, Eric Blore, William Demarest, Eugene Pallette, and others in the Sturges stock company, and it just doesn’t get any better than this.  This is a new Criterion Blu-ray and it’s a transfer given to them by Universal, so I can’t say it’s as luscious as it should be (photography by Victor Milner), but it’s pretty good.  It’s ninety-four minutes of pure comedy heaven and I am so in love with Miss Stanwyck right now it’s palpable.  And her wardrobe by Edith Head is to die for.

Now, prior to this, if you searched Are Snakes Necessary on the Internet you would have come up with The Lady Eve.  Not anymore, thanks to that thief of Mr. Hitchcock’s works, Mr. Brian De Palma, who now thinks he’s a novelist and his new book, written with Susan Lehman, is called – Are Snakes Necessary, which, of course, has nothing to do with his book and everything to do with him being a smartass.  The book is designed to look like an old Dell 1960s paperback cover.  I won’t be reading it, of course – reading comments about it are enough for the likes of me.

Yesterday, what can I say about yesterday that hasn’t already been said?  Well, everything, since I haven’t really said anything about it.  I got nine hours of sleep again, so that was nice.  Once up, I did a few things that needed doing, went to the mail place and picked up stuff, came right home, and then it was time to eat the meal o’ the day.  I rustled up some faux chicken stroganoff and had it over white rice and ate it all up – very good.  It really helps when the sour cream isn’t rotten.  After that, I chose a couple of songs, listened to a couple of CDs, then did some work on the computer.  After all that, I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished part two of Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic, The Indian Tomb.  It, like part one, plodded along slowly, but it’s well directed, looks good, has great sets, and Miss Debra Paget so scantily clad for one dance it’s amazing that what little she had on stayed on.  I couldn’t figure it out, really.  I’m glad I finally saw them but don’t think I need to revisit.

After that, we went directly to the sublime, The Lady Eve.  If for some reason you’ve never seen this film, you really must.  It’s a comic masterpiece.  And have I mentioned that I’m completely smitten with Miss Barbara Stanwyck?  And to Mr. De Palma – why don’t you come up with, I don’t know, call me crazy, you own damn title.

Then I listened to a lot of Morton Gould music.  He was quite an interesting composer and an excellent conductor and I’ve always enjoyed his music, but am always happy to discover new pieces by him.  Of course, he recorded for RCA a lot, with a lot of easy listening albums to his credt, along with his classical stuff.  Howard Hanson conducted a wonderful album of his stuff – it’s on CD, one of those Mercury Living Presence CDs.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat the rest of the chicken – probably sautéed with some onions over rice, but no sauce this time.  And then, at six o’clock PDT and nine o’clock EDT we do our one and only Facebook and YouTube Live test.  I’ll be answering all the questions that were asked on Facebook and I’m hoping it will all be fun.  It’s just our way of making sure everything is working, tech-wise.  Hoping all you dear readers will be there – it’s no fun with an empty room.  Here are the links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KritzerlandUpstairsatVitellos

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/haineshisway

After that, I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow will be a ME day, other than choosing more songs – I’ve got to have everything chosen for our core cast by Monday at the latest.  Then I’ll work on our guests.  Hoping to have some answers vis a vis our guests soon.  Sunday, I’ll relax and then get ready for Kritzerland 108, which begins at 5:00 PDT and 8:00 EDT.  It should run around ninety minutes if I’m timing everything correctly.

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, do whatever needs doing, hopefully pick up some packages, eat, do our one and only Facebook and YouTube Live test, answer questions, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player?  I’ll start – CD, many things.  Blu-ray, Blue Denim.  Your turn.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, where I shall ask the age old question, are snakes necessary?

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