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February 24, 2021:

TINA, BRING ME THE AX

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I don’t know why I did it, but I did it and I don’t know why. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, I don’t know why I did it, but I did it and I don’t know why. What is it that I did and don’t know why? I watched Mommie Dearest on Amazon Prime. Checking the notes archive shows me that the last time I watched this film was in 2006 when the special edition DVD came out. That used the same transfer as the first DVD, which was horrible. So, the first good news is that Amazon Prime has a new HD transfer that looks swell. I really liked the movie when it came out, and I liked it when the first DVD came out and then again when the second DVD came out. But seeing it look so nice made me like it even more. It’s not a perfect movie due to some really sloppy casting decisions, which I’ll get to in a minute, but it’s beautifully directed by Frank Perry, has a good script by a plethora of writers, great sets and costumes, and a perfect score by Henry Mancini. But what really takes it home are the brilliant performances of Faye Dunaway as Miss Joan Crawford, Mara Hobel as young Christina, Diana Scarwid as older Christina, and Rutanya Alda as Miss Crawford’s loyal assistant. In fact, every female in the film is excellent. So, that makes it doubly weird that every male in the film is simply not so hot, save for Howard da Silva as Louis B. Mayer. Harry Goz, who played Tevye for many years on Broadway, is Joan’s Pepsi-Cola husband and he’s just stiff as can be, and Steve Forrest is interesting casting that sadly doesn’t pay off, because he’s just out of his element with Miss Dunaway. I was especially impressed with young Hobel this time around. She was nine when it was filmed and garnered some Razzie Award nominations, which is stupid and unfair. Her other dubious claim to fame happened a couple of years later, when she played a young tap-dancing kid in the infamous one-performance flop, Moose Murders. Anyway, I had a whole lot of fun watching, even though some of it, for me, was hard to watch, especially the famous hanger scene – for those who’ve read Benjamin Kritzer, you’ll know why. Prior to that I heard two operas new to me, one by French composer Charles Gounod (whose most known piece of music is Funeral March of a Marionette, better known as the Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme), entitled Cinq-Mars. His music is a bit old-fashioned for my taste, but it was enjoyable and smack in the middle of it there was one really beautiful choral piece – that I really loved. And then it was a short Massenet opera called Therese, seventy-minutes long, and I have to say I absolutely loved every minute of it. These are part of that series that are packaged like a book – I love that series, and the recordings are all superb, as are the performances. I gather that the Massenet Therese only has one other recording, done in the 1970s.

Yesterday was another day with irritations but also some nice stuff. I could really use a break from the irritations, frankly, and my patience level with them is at an all-time low, I must say. I got seven hours of sleep, was up by ten-thirty, then the visitor picking up CDs came by and got his batch. After that, I did some work on the computer, then had hot dogs for lunch for a total of around 600 calories. Then I went and picked up a couple of packages, came directly home, and spent the rest of the day and early evening preparing the two new Kritzerland releases. Unfortunately, Doug is hyper busy and doesn’t think he can get to it until March 3, but I’ve asked him to try and do it sooner. It was supposed to be Thursday. We shall see. I had some telephonic conversations, got a couple of tracks done, and set our final guest for the March Kritzerland, which now has a tentative date towards the end of that month. The cast includes Kerry O’Malley, Robert Yacko, Brittney Bertier, Adrienne Stiefel, young Mackenzie Wrap, Maegan McConnell, and our guests Judy Kaye and Gregory Jbara. Really quite a cast.

Then you know the rest. I did have some snacks, including an apple and a peach, an English muffin, and popcorn – all that probably brought me up to 1000 calories. And just so you know, my favorite line from this viewing of Mommie Dearest was, “Tina, bring me the ax.” It doesn’t get better than that.

Today, I’ll be up by eleven o’clock, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat, I’ll get the book Xeroxed for its final proofing, and then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same and I’m hoping Grant can get back to work on the book. Then whatever needs doing will be done, and on Sunday we begin work on project two.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by eleven, do whatever needs doing, hopefully pick up packages, eat, Xerox and then begin the final proofing of the book, and then at some point watch, listen and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, and the only other thing I can say is, “Tina, bring me the ax.”

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