Sunday, May 29, 2005

Rainy days and Sundays...

...never get me down.

It was a gray day with off and on sprinkling rain, but a productive day in terms of rest and relaxation. I found a site to download movies to my computer. Granted Movie Flix has a lot of old and B movies, including some silents, but I do so enjoy all those old movies. I watched a few of my favorites and found some new ones to enjoy and $6.95 a month is pretty inexpensive.

I wanted to go to Territory Days today, but the rain kept me in -- and the movies. I had lots of phone calls to keep me company, too. I always get a kick out of friends calling on weekends just to say hello, especially when they're friends of so many decades. Deb is one of those and we always have good intellectual (and sometimes silly) conversations. Even after more than 20 years of friendship, we still have so much to talk about. My mother called to make sure I was alive, especially since her cell phone is free on the weekends, and I got calls from four other friends. Today was just the day for old friends...and one new one.

My landlady called up to say she heard me moving around up here and wanted to know if I like polenta and BBQ chicken. What can I say but -- YES! She said she wanted to make sure I had food and brought up a very tasty container of homemade polenta and BBQ chicken. We chatted and she said she finally heard me the other day. At first she couldn't identify the sound. She went all around her apartment downstairs listening, finally pinpointing the sound near a register between the floors. The sound was a soft, slightly sibilant snore and it was me. Naturally, I was embarrassed and she said not to be. It was the first time she heard it and she admitted she snores from time to time, but she snores so loudly sometimes she wakes herself up. Mine was more of a soft, ladylike snore -- if any snore can be called ladylike.

I'm getting plenty of work done on my novels despite my entrancing times with the old B movies, although I have found an old friend and favorite: Hedy Lamarr, not to be confused with Hedley Lamar of Blazing Saddles fame.

Hedy Lamarr was Austrian and one of the most beautiful women in filmdom. One of my favorite movies including Hedy is Cecil B. DeMille's Samson & Delilah where Hedy played opposite Victor Mature as Delilah. Today I saw Dishonored Lady where she played a powerful advertising art director and night time party girl who tries to commit suicide. Hedy is one of the truly great actresses and incredibly beautiful and evocative, not to mention sexy.

Another dark-haired beauty with a bit of an overbite that made the gents go crazy is Gene Tierney. My favorite movie of all time is Otto Preminger's film noir classic Laura with Dana Andrews, Dame Judith Anderson (although not a Dame yet), and the versatile, talented and handsome Vincent Price. Wonderful Clifton Webb plays the poisonous and oh-so-urbane, witty and word-wise Waldo Lydecker.

Another favorite Gene Tierney classic is The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (not to be confused with the 70s TV remake with Hope Lange), but the noir classic with Rex Harrison as the brooding, swearing and lively ghost of Captain Daniel Gregg. A very young and pretty Natalie Wood plays young Anna Muir.

When my mother called and I told her I was watching old movies on the computer, I could see her shake her head as she said, "I only need to see a movie once, but your father likes those old movies, too." Figures. I'm related to him.

There's something so rich and magical about old movies. The values were simpler, the story lines seductive and true-to-life, and Hollywood hadn't quite gotten in the way yet. To be sure there were happy endings, but they grew organically out of the story line and weren't tacked on to please a target audience or garner ratings. There were plenty of sad moments and unhappy endings, but the stories were real and rich and still hold their own even in today's world.

The actresses of those bygone days would probably not make it today because they aren't thin or emaciated enough, but they were real. They knew how to act and not just pretend. Comedy, even when it was slapstick and obvious was genuine and uncontrived. Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey with William Powell is a treat and still makes me smile at the end. Anything with Carole Lombard or William Powell is guaranteed to be classy and wondrous, deceptively simple and honest.

I see remakes today of the old classics, but even with high tech digitized color and sound, nothing compares to the originals. The acting leaves a lot to be desired and the comedy, when there is any humor at all, is more like a giant whoopee cushion in your face. Subtlety is gone. But time marches on.

Right now it's time for me to march back to bathroom and chisel the egg yolk masque off my congealed pores before I slip into bed with Stephen King -- or maybe Dorothy Parker.

You see? I swing both ways.

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