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Old Movies Are The Best Movies

As many of you may already know, I am a classic old movie fan.  I have to thank Shaw cable for including Turner Classic Movie channel into our small modest bundle.

I have heard of famous actresses from the good old days’ – actresses like Rita Hayworth, but I haven’t actively sought out any movies that she starred in. I had no idea how good she was until I stumbled upon her playing the role of Gilda.

Sometimes I make the mistake of reading the synopsis of a movie and think, Nah, boring. But this time, even though the premise sounded dull, set in a casino blah blah blah, but because the rating was hovering around 96 percent, it got me wondering.  I was intrigued.

I settled down and was soon caught up in a swirl of emotions. Two people raking each other over the coals, being cruel to each other on purpose. And Rita Hayworth was amazing. Truly mesmerizing. And those lines, who writes like that anymore?- “We don’t have to apologize because we were both stinkers.” Stinkers! Who says that anymore? I cried because that line was perfect at that moment, perfect and sad and funny and true.

Later, I found myself singing Put the Blame on Mame, even though I had no idea what it means, and I still don’t.

Do they make movies this good anymore? I am not entirely sure. After watching Sophia Loren in Marriage Italian Style I really wonder if someone from this day and age can come up with something so raw- and beautiful and original.

If you think about people portrayed in the movies of today, like for instance like in the very good little film, BlueJay- even though the characters in it are grown up and have problems, they don’t seem grown up at all. Their difficulties don’t appear to be anywhere near the level of complex adult problems as the characters in the old classic movies. But perhaps this was the point of BlueJay– that their younger selves were what they were mourning and the passion that went with it.

I recommend both of these movies for those of you that like to get into the thick of the complexities of human relationships, relationships that are tangled up with deep love, resentment, and passion.

click the link below for a great performance-

Rita Hayworth sings Put the Blame on Mame

And if any of you know what the hootchy koo is please let me know, also who is Mame?

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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

photofest

Sometimes my mind goes down a complete rabbit hole, without any chance of finding sunlight. I was thinking this the other evening while watching my new favourite movie channel, Turner Classic Movies— that here is Joan Crawford, playing a woman who is being tortured by her former child star actress sister. But then I couldn’t help thinking of the movie loosely based on Joan Crawford’s real life, where she torments her daughter in the movie Mommy Dearest and I think, ahhhhhhhhhhh…. this is hard for my little brain to compute.You want to feel sorry for the sister upstairs in her old fashioned wheel chair… especially when a rat is served for dinner. But alternatively you can’t help but wonder, what did the actress do in real life to her daughter?

Ya know what I mean?

There is a fine line between truth and fiction I suppose. But I don’t think Joan wrote the part of Baby Jane, but still. Maybe the horrible story crept into her mind unsuspecting. and she became a psychopath.

I don’t know, just thinkin… I still recommend this movie though. Just for bizarreness factor. You almost can’t believe what will happen next.

And even if they tend to over act… it doesn’t matter to me, ’cause the ideas are so darn strong and interesting and of course, it is the first time they are done.

Unless they have stolen the ideas from Shakespeare. Which could have happened.

Over and out from a classic movie fan.

Click the link below to the 20th-anniversary edition book written by Christina Crawford.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/374671.Mommie_Dearest

 

The Marrying Kind

The Marrying Kind

Okay, you know from many of my blog posts that I am a classic movie fan. I recently came upon a movie starring Judy Holliday that blew me away. It is called The Marrying Kind. Darn those great screen writers. And great acting. This is when I wish I had another fellow classic movie fan to watch these movies with me. To laugh and ugly cry together whilst eating buttery popcorn.  And some of those lines that they wrote in those days— like when Judy Holliday says after a long day, ” this day has been about three days long!”

How many times have I felt this but could never figure out how to explain it simply?

Or when the couple sits around the breakfast table after fighting all night and are forced to sing the good morning song with their daughter. I laughed until I cried. Who hasn’t had a huge fight and tried to pretend everything was fine in front of their kids? It was moving and funny and I am still remembering clever bits an hour later. Each scene is brilliant in its own way. When the couple is rushing to go out to a fancy dinner on their anniversary and the couple’s friends arrive late to babysit, they see that they are completely drunk ( unfit to leave with their kids)  so they make the best of it and join them for a dance party in the living room…

Even though this movie was produced in 1952 I still think the major themes of what problems can occur in a marriage are as relevant today as they were then. There is nothing dated about the ups and downs of a family trying to make ends meet while enjoying the good times and enduring the bad. I suppose that’s why some movies are called classics.

TCM had a little blurb after this movie explaining why it didn’t do well in the box office many years ago. It was promoted as a comedy, which it definitely isn’t. But you will laugh and cry too, I guarantee it.

Just like life.

Brigadoon

Brigadoon

After a long time away from living on a small island I have found myself back and it feels strange. It is strange to recognize so many familiar faces everywhere I turn. I feel like I am in Brigadoon, this little town has stayed the same—stopped in time, if you will. On the ferry, there is the same man who steals your newspaper right out of your hands, the same man delivering a truck of water in the dry season, the same person selling you meat from the deli. And I swear there is that same spider hanging out in the same corner of the ceiling.

The ferry line up is long and the tourists are fun to watch and listen to on the long waits. They are easy to spot, expensive sunglasses and fancy sandals, standing in the front of the ferry, faces in the wind looking expectantly to the island, anticipation of a holiday in their eyes. They take shamelessly happy looking selfies with the mountains and the sea in the background and I think, yes come and enjoy the island, where nothing ever changes.  And while it is comforting to know everyone’s name, I still enjoy the animosity of a new car ( new to people here anyways), where I can drive down the winding tree lined roads without anyone recognizing me at least for a brief time— I don’t have to wave at anyone.

Although it feels that time has stopped, it really hasn’t. Some people look a lot older, classic older men with long white beards Rip Van Winkle-esk… walking in their faded tie dye. Some have packed up and moved away- as we did, to try and find better jobs in the city.

Some have died.

Time has a different meaning on this small island. I have to shake off my impatience as people stop in the middle of the narrow two lane road that winds around the island, to stop and chat —-holding up the people behind them. I have to learn that long waits are the norm, at the ferry.  You learn to make your own ice cream, your own pot stickers. Now I have to learn to make Pho and give up going to the movies… just to not have to take the dreaded ferry. It is fun to get people riled up here, all you have to do is say BC Ferries! and you can get a reaction. They have been overloaded all month! 45 minutes late each time! Is the lament that I keep hearing.

But I think an island like this should be kept the same- it is beneficial to keep the outside world from transforming us too much—we have to realize, it really is that dreaded ferry that is keeping this little island at bay from too much rapid change. Like that spell on Brigadoon.

And like Gene Kelly who returns to New York after leaving,  he just can’t get Brigadoon out of his mind. Gabriola too will keep you under its spell, and if you leave, you may have to return. Even if Cyd Charisse isn’t here dancing around Drumbeg Park with her long legs and her Scottish accent.

 

 Note from the author: I am taking great liberties with my memory of this old movie…. it has been awhile since I have watched this film and I am filling in the holes with my imagination.

 

 

 

Sunday Afternoon Theatre

Sunday Afternoon Theatre

What is the difference between fact and fiction? This is the question we were left with after enjoying the movie Maudie on a Sunday afternoon at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington.

We were sitting enjoying a pot of Oolong tea at a cozy tea house on a Sunday afternoon, when we realized we were only a few minutes walk away from a showing of the Canadian film, Maudie. It was on our list of movies to see so we rushed over to the old theatre, bought some reasonably priced popcorn and settled into the old red seats, well-worn from years of use with just a handful of other movie goers.(spoiler alert!)

The plot of the movie was slower than I would have liked, kind of like life sometimes I suppose– but the panoramic views of the Bay were pure eye candy. Apparently, the film was shot in Newfoundland and Labrador, not Nova Scotia. Both characters were well played, although it was difficult to watch the scene when Maudie was struck by her soon- to- be- husband.  The overall tone of the movie that we were left with was that there was love between the two. We left the Plaza feeling a wee bit sad and eager to learn more about Maud Lewis. Doing a bit of Googling, we soon learned that another biographer of Maud’s life took a completely different angle on her life, he claimed that her husband was more abusive than the movie portrayed. The demise of both characters was darker than the film revealed. For instance, Everett was murdered during an attempted robbery on his property in 1979 and  Maud may have died of malnutrition and not emphysema as the film depicted.  But who can really understand the inner workings of a marriage? Can anyone truly know what goes on in the dark recesses of a couple’s relationship? I am a romantic. And so I choose to believe she was loved, as she utters on her death bed in one of the final scenes. The separation of fact and fiction about this artist’s life is what makes the writers of history and biography true artists, they must take bits and pieces to make it into a whole narrative story that in the case of film, must follow a storyline, and in the case of Maudie, the writers and director have definitely done a good job of it.

Want to learn more about Maud’s life? Here is a link to a huge book about her. http://www.lancewoolaver.ca/the-heart-on-the-door/

Click on the link below for a clip from the NFB of Canada,

https://www.nfb.ca/film/maud_lewis_a_world_without_shadows/

Searching for Magic

Searching for Magic

BarbaraSleigh_CarbonelTheKingOfTheCats

When I was young, my favourite thing to do was to search for signs of magic. I constantly looked for secret passages in my house, or tried to move things with my mind. At night I dreamt of flying. What was this obsession about?  Why was it so important to me that magic existed here on earth?

Of course many of the books I read when I was a child were about magic. I adored Carbonel, the King of Cats. It was about a black cat and a little girl who had to learn some witchcraft to help him. This was years before Harry Potter. There were only three books in the series, of which I was very disappointed about, and still am almost forty years later.

A few years ago we had a circus come to town. It was locally produced by a group of people from a neighbouring island. It could have been considered rinky -dink, but I enjoyed it as much as Cirque du Soleil. And I have to wonder why?

It had the same elements of a good show, but without the high cost. It brought us out of our regular chores of living. Instead of having dinner, cleaning up, watering the garden etc- we put a little make up on, found a clean shirt to wear, and went out in anticipation of something new. We also got to see friends and neighbours, in a new environment.  And the show was delightful. For instance, little children dressed as lions, while the mother tamed them in her ringmaster costume. People danced on stilts, having puppets ( real people on strings), perform for us. There was also some regular cheesy magic performed.  The community hall was packed, with many people standing.

This little show took us out of ourselves, out of our mundane routines, just for an hour or so. It didn’t have to be exotic, it just had to be fun. That to me is what real magic is, knowing where to find a sense of wonder, where to find something extraordinary in the regular.

I have to add that if you haven’t seen the documentary film An Honest Liar starring James “The Amazing Randi”-yet, please do so. It is an intimate look at the life of a famous magician and his partner. He is driven to disprove fakers of the paranormal. And while I applaud his intensity to expose these charlatans, I wonder, does it matter that much, that these people say they can perform miracles, when they really can’t?

I want to believe. And – I am still trying to learn psychokinensis.

I will update you on my progress.

 

 

300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story…with Recipes, not just another memoir.

300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story…with Recipes, not just another memoir.

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At first glance of this title you may think this is a ridiculous idea, and also a super brilliant marketing ploy. I really enjoyed this light yet still interesting memoir, written by Stephanie Smith. She makes an arrangement with her beau, where he will assent to marry her after she makes him three hundred sandwiches.

I often think of this book, while making my husband his sandwich each week night, for obvious reasons. I usually make him a whole wheat wrap with tons of mayonnaise ’cause that’s how he likes it and lots of spicy sauce. (usually our home-made green sauce) Press link  below for recipe.

https://deathdefyingactsofliving.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/the-vat-o-green-sauce/

I also write his name on it with a sharpie and a little heart too, just for added effect, because who doesn’t like a heart on their lunch? I do this because he is forgetful, and I believe this labelling just helps him along a wee bit. Is this an outdated practice in our modern world? This practice of making of one’s husband’s lunch?

I think not, after reading this memoir, and thinking about a movie that my teenager assented to take me to on my birthday a few year’s back. It was an Indian movie called The Lunchbox. It had all of my favourite things in a movie, a foreign culture, some interesting food facts and a love story. There were only a handful of us in the theatre that day. Afterwards a woman said that she was impressed that my daughter went with me, although I had to admit it was my special birthday request, otherwise there would be no movie with me, foreign or otherwise.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lunchbox

Here are the reasons why I make my husband’s sandwich for him daily:

1. It saves us money. If he is hungry he will go to a fast food place and buy an unhealthy fried meal, when added up daily, this can get quite pricey. This food also makes him thirsty all night, thus waking me up.

2. It is healthier for him if I make it. I make sure to cram at least a cup of spinach in each wrap if I can get away with it.

3. See end of point 1­ ( wakes me up).

4. Gratefulness­ . I am grateful that he wakes up early each day to help pay the bills that buy the groceries, that turn into sandwiches.

5. I love him.

Does this make me an anti-­feminist, as the author of 300 Hundred Sandwiches, Stephanie Smith was accused of? I say no. I know if it was me that was working fifty plus hours of work per week, and it was him who was only able to get a part-time job, it would be my husband standing barefoot in the kitchen, ( and in his boxer’s too, as that is his normal home attire) making me an avocado cream cheese wrap with no mayo, ’cause that’s how I like it. That is what equality is all about after all.

Some nights I am tired, but I make that wrap anyways. And I grind the coffee beans too. He often calls me the next day and leaves this message on the answering machine,­ “Thank you, this is the best sandwich ever!” This makes me smile, and I begin plotting out another great sandwich for tomorrow.

Click below for a great sandwich poem, Counterman

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/57675