Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol.. XIV , 22
Sunday, August 25. 2013
I am working this Sunday under very unusual circumstances: Last week, my computer guru took this ancient Dell out and installed a used computer that I should find much easier to get satisfactory results with. Of course, I can hardly wait to have the newer computer; so imagine my frustration, with what I am trying to do with the same old junk pile that I have used to death. But the Guru ran into a problem night before last, while installing the newer machine and then had to re-install this (just so I could get some kind of Fax Facts to my beloved subscribers).
So what I plan to do is (once more) send a quick version of the old tried and true weekly mess!
I ask each of you to try to remember, as I am trying to convince myself, that patience (of which I have NONE) really IS a virtue!
“A cat will sit washing hid face within two inches of a dog in the most frantic state of barking rage, if the dog be chained.”
Carl van Vechfin
Old Movie Review
Giant (WB, 1956)
This overly long cinema made all the wrong impressions on my first watching of the film when it was brand new. After all these years, I recorded and managed to watch most of it (I found the likes of Sal Mineo just too much to be endured) I never understood what he had to do with the entire flick. I had read Edna Ferber’s endless saga at a time when I was reading every book from which a movie had been made. She was definitely never one of my favorite authors.
There were far too many pages to the novel; too many characters to keep separated in my brain, (almost as bad as War and Peace!) and just not enough interest in a rancher in Texas, who is a billionaire, etc. All of my attention as I wactched scene after scene, was riveted upon Elizabeth Taylor and her usual flawless performance. Now, here was an actress that I never cared for as long as she was marrying and divorcing every male star in Hollywood: I could never forgive her for taking Debby Reynold’s husband away from her and then dumping him. But from the moment I saw that opening scene of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff (with the Bette Davis quote) I have found her acting to be absolutely spell binding! Coupled with her astounding beauty, there is a lot to be admired
This was no exception. Not only was she the biggest asset the film had, she totally was able to make the plot possible, and even logical! I actually cried as she tells Rock Hudson, finally why she loves him so much’ The scene is beautifully written and I just found it perfect in every way, For the first time ever, I found even “Brick Bat” Hudson tolerable.
Draft Dodging No More
One of the places on this earth that I always enjoyed the most is Chicago! The first time I went there was when Mama and I came back home from Lansing, from whence we had traveled after my graduation the day before. However, rather than enjoying it (as I certainly would have done any time later) I was hell bent on getting home to Ellisville and George so that we could begin to share the magic of the tape recorder I had bought with Daddy’s graduation gift, which was sufficient to buy something George and I had been searching for all those years when we longed to record the “Broadcasts” he was always coming up with! I had managed to get Ramona (Mrs. Gregg’s) to talk into the microphone, and was well aware of the effect this would have on him.
` As I look back on this stupid behavior of mine back then, I am aghast! My cousins had bought tickets for the Broadway Musical, ,Pal Joey which was in town that week, and I can just imagine how they had counted on our enjoying it with them!
However, our Chicago cousins gave us both quite a sight seeing view of the city: We visited the art museum (which later became one of my favorite things to do in Chicago) and were able to see lots of things that were introduced for the World’s Fair that had been there a few years earlier. How well I remember the room with the fantastic property (or so it seemed to me, at that time) of being able to whisper (almost inaudibly) from the corner of one side of the huge building, and hear it clearly from the opposite corner! The oldest of Aunt Grace’s flock (Sam) was then a student at the Art Institute, and he made me feel really good about myself when he casually asked me which of the works of art I found the most interesting. I had been captivated by a strange and somber oil painting that was of an austere black door that was locked and through a keyhole a candle’s dim light could barely be seen. There were flowers in what we could see of the background, and when I asked what the work was called, Sam said, “That which I should have done, but left undone.” For me that seemed to sum it up perfectly
Looking at the World”s Fair's rides and other things that made me ache all over just to see them, was well worth our stopping overnight. But if anything, I was even more stubborn then than I am now. So after spending just one night there, I insisted that we head for home! I rationalized later by saying that Mama probably would have hated the Broadway Musical! But I knew this was not true: Mama always loved a good movie or play, as well as television.
Bette Davis Old Movie Quiz
1. Did Davis or Hepburn win the most Oscars? Hepburn was the most award winning star, and still is
2. In which film does Bette wear a red evening dress to a huge party? Jezebel
3. with whose dying body does she travel to the cemetery in New Orleans? Henry Fonda
4. What is the famous Bette Davis quote spoken by Eliz. Taylor in the beginning of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff? “What a DUMP!” as she enters the front door.
5. Which film ends with Bette going blind? Extra credit if you can name the Oscar winning friend who is with her to the bitter end? Dark Victory. Geraldine Fitzgerald was the loyal friend.
6. In which WW2 studio musical did Bette lament, They’re Either too Young or too old!? Thank Your Lucky Stars
7. With whom did she share top billing in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Joan Crawford.
8. Who was her similar friend in Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte? Olivia deHavilland
9. Who was the younger actress who was Eve, to Bette Davis? Anne Baxter
10. Can you name any of her husbands? Gary Merrill,
Old Movie Trivia Quiz
- What Warner Bros. star played Brother Orchid?
- Who was the original Man in the Iron Mask?
- Who played Gilbert Grape in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
4. Who was in the remake of The Man in the Iron Mask?
5. In which film did Mary Astor play a concert pianist with the Schakowsky Piano Concerto in B flat; always those first few pages?
6. Can you name the Republic star of I’ve Always Loved You?
7. To what famous pianist did Republic pay a million dollars for the sound track?
8. Which Republic film gave us the Warsaw Concerto?
9. Who was Britain’s Georgie Girl?
10. Whom did she finally marry?
Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol.. XIV , 21
Sunday, August 18. 2013
Driving to mass at 6:45 in a downpour, is for me, far preferable to driving directly into the sun’s unyielding glare! Sun glasses only make it worse, so I usually have to utilize pillows stacked one on top of the other, and drive more or less standing up to avoid driving blind as a bad into the great Sunshine mountain!
“If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.”
Alfred North Whitehead
Old Movie Review
Watch on the Rhine (WB; 1943)
This WW2 drama about Bette Davis (who is married to Paul Lucas and has been living in Germany since their marriage), Paul Lucas (who played the kind man who marries Jo in the David O/ Selznick 1930’s version of Little Women won an Academy Award for this performance.
Bette and Paul have brought their three well mannered children (two boy and a girl) where they run into a man who is trying to take half of a stack of money amounting to $20000 for taking back to Germany where they will do all that they can to help the allied causes. Paul ends up having to shoot this interloper, even though Bette Davis’ mother has aggreed to give him half of the amount out of her pocket.
The tension in the house relaxes and Paul joins the fighting, leaving his wife and children with their mother, at her mother’s home.
It has just enough WW2 discussion to make it breath taking, and Bette does some of her usual wonderful acting!
Draft Dodging No More
I was tired and hot when I arrived at the door to Marcus’s apartment there in the heart if Cincinnati, but the minute I saw that great big smiling face, my spirits lifted heavenward! Marcus was one of those happy people who are so satisfied with their lives that they are usually in a terrific mood, “Come in this house!” he almost cried. I walked across the threshold and stood admiring the new additions he had made since my last visit.
I was between terms at Michigan State, where I was almost through with my education. And we all agreed it was about time!
There was a delicious odor coming from the gas range, and I did not recognize it. “What’s the heavenly smell?” I asked.
He smiled broadly as he said, “We’re having curried beef for supper!
I thought back to my last visit (the past fall) when Marcus had taken me to yet another of Cincinnati’s Five Star restaurants (any one of which I rated higher than any restaurant n New Orleans) and we had almost had it that evening, but he decided he wanted me to have something else. I sniffed the air hungrily! What is that heavenly aroma?’ I asked.
“That’s the curry powder! That’s what makes if so special!”
I had to agree that its odor was different and certainly smelled delicious!
I admit to being so hungry I almost passed out, what with the delicious aroma I was having to endure. When we finally sat down to eat, almost two hours later, it was almost like when we used to slop our hogs, back in Richton! I refer to the uncouth manner in which we both attacked the meal, and then so thoroughly enjoyed down to the last drop! I’m sure he had salad, vegetables and dessert: but I’d be lying if I said I remembered anything except that curried beef!
Incidentally, about thirty years after this introduction to curry powder, Janet, my bridge partner, brought us Deviled Eggs for lunch. They smelled so wonderful that I had to ask what they had that her others had not had, and she told me she had experimented with some curry powder! I have used it ever since!
The next morning, Marcus asked if I would have any interest in seeing Cincinnati’s outstanding zoo. I gave him a strong answer in the affirmative, and by the time the day was over. I was filled with more lovely memories! First of all, we were transported by an over-sized Toy Train, and before that, I had seen zoos in places like Jackson, MS. and Southern Miss. University. But here was a real zoo! (I later was taken to even more spectacular zoos in Seattle, Washington and Portlamd, Oregon, with Beth as my tour guide (and it was here that I fell in love with water critters!)
I knew how eager Mama and Daddy were to see me, so I tore myself away, and continued driving due South.
Bette Davis Old Movie Quiz
1. Did Davis or Hepburn win the most Oscars?
2. In which film does Bette wear a red evening dress to a huge party?
3. with whose dying body does she travel to the cemetery in New Orleans?
4. What is the famous Bette Davis quote spoken by Eliz. Taylor in the beginning of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff?
5. Which film ends with Bette going blind? Extra credit if you can name the Oscar winning friend who is with her to the bitter end?
6. In which WW2 studio musical did Bette lament, They’re Either too Young or too old!?
7. With whom did she share top billing in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
8. Who was her similar friend in Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte?
9. Who was the younger actress who was Eve, to Bette Davis?
10. Can you name any of her husbands?
Answers to Quiz
1. Rosalind Russell was in the Eugene O’Neal drama. Mourning Becomes Electra
2. In My Sister Eileen, Leonard Bernstein wrote the movie score
3. In Aunty Mama, Peggy Cass created the character Agnes Gooch
4. Carol Brown was Mame’s vaudeville partner (Mame always got it wrong)
5. It Happened in Bombay, which paired MGM super star Clark Gable with Rosalind Russell.
6. Roger Smith *Lend Me Your Comb played the adored nephew grown up/ Think about combs!
7. His Girl Friday paired Roz with Cary Grant,
8. No Time for Comedy had her with James Stewart.
9. She played stage mother to Natalie Wood in Gypsy..
10. How many Oscars did she receive in her career? None, to my knowledge. She certainly deserved at least two!
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Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol.. XIV , 20
Sunday, August 11. 2013
Sharon and Joe Grimly made the week worthwhile with their visit Saturday. It was their first visit in months, and we had a lot of catching up to do: Joe (as usual) was able to get the telephone in the bedroom working again (it had been plugged in to a dead outlet: he not only fixed that, buy also was able to get rid of four or five other electric cords off the floor where they were always dangerous with my poor sense of balance. They both took care of several matters that were troubling me (as usual) and their efforts were greatly appreciated! Joe drove us to for hamburgers (I had planned to make Jambalaya, but they said it was too much trouble) so I was happy with a Big Bufford~mine and Beth’s favorite burger in this world!
“I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, and most intelligent things I know. Outside of the girl you love, of course.” Mark Twain
The Lost Weekend
I knew almost as soon as I arrived at Lynwood’s lovely apartment in the French Quarter, that my old friend had a problem because he was already having trouble making his eyes look straight at me, It didn’t take long for him to unburden his heart to me: He had a tooth that had to be extracted and the dentist refused to give him any sort of pain killers! I had observed this tendency for “Making you feel good” drugs on my last visits. Of course I have never had the least interest in any kind of drugs, and felt that anyone stupid enough to become addicted to them, got just what he deserved! I would buy the pain pills my dentist prescribed, but never took them: I never had enough pain to take the risk!
Trying not to sound too “Holier than Thou” I did a lot of swallowing a great deal of crap that was bitter as gall. Lynwood’s solution to his pain was to drink himself into oblivion. After all, he did work for one of the biggest Liquor Companies in the world. He had no interest in supper (as a matter of fact, he hardly ate at all the entire time I was with him. He’s take longer and stronger swigs from his bottle as I tried to look anywhere but at him!
I was tired and needed to get some sleep, but although he went to bed, I knew he was not even trying to reach unconsciousness! He moaned and groaned like a woman in labor! My heart hardened. I could not get over the feeling that all of that pain was being faked!
I must have really been tired, because even though his moans and groans were growing ever more fortissimo, I managed somehow to get to sleep!
And this was with the radio going full blast! He always insisted on listening to radio, which somehow made him go to sleep! I was certainly glad that he had twin beds in is bedroom, since I awoke just in time to hear him making a run for the backroom as he vomited all over his bed! That did it. I was so disgusted I wanted to cry! Still. I had to try to be understanding and tolerant. So, I watched with my eyes closed, as he tried valiantly to get all that mess cleaned up. I knew if I had not been there, he would have moved into my bed and left it all till the next day—or later.
He went back to sleep once he had wet mopped the entire bedroom floor, and had put fresh linens on his bed. He had done nothing to keep the smell of vomit from making me sick (and does it ever smell even half as bad when it is anything else but liquor?) Sunday morning we awoke and I volunteered to cook us some eggs and bacon, after which I was determined to head for home. He begged me so pitifully, saying over and over how sorry he was that I had to see him like this, that I decided to stay till after lunch (which he was treating me to at the Court of Two Sisters (or were there three of them?) At any rate, I always enjoyed the cuisine there and drove back to Ellisville feeling much better than I had since arriving yesterday.
Old Movie Review
Too Many Husbands (Columbia)
And now we come to the reason that I stuck it out for over two hours, just to find out that we still do not know the outcome! This film from Columbia Pictures (in 1940) starred one of my favorite actresses of this era: Jean Arthur: who was never more aggravating than in this ill-begotten horrible rip off of RKO’s My Favorite Wife (1940, also----hmmmm?) concerning Irene Dunne, who is married to Cary Grant, being lost on a deserted island, for seven years, with Randolph Scott. She is pronounced legally dead, so Cary marries Gail Patrick. There are quite a lot of laughs in this silly little film because of the great cast and director. Too Many Husbands has a usually respectable cast, but here we have zero laughs and great expanses of ennui about which husband (Melvin Douglas who has married Jean after first hubby, Fred MacMurray is lost on a desert Island. But here, he is alone the whole time. But in My Favorite Wife, Irene Dunne had all that time with Randolph Scott for Cary Grant to worry about.
This far lesser “comedy” would have us believe that the poor darling truly loved both husbands, and couldn’t make a decision between them. They tried everything, from drawing straws to even more inane practices: It always remains unresolved. By the end of the “endless flop” I had turned the thing off, but could not resist seeing who DID get the Booby Prize. Imagine my disgust when the ending did not resolve a single thing: we are back at square one!
Soldier in the Rain
As different as night from day, this little known film is worth its weight in solid gold! I had never heard a thing about it, but when I saw that Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen were the stars, I began watching; and I loved what I saw. It is the tender story of a fat, middle aged man and a young army recruit and their formingof a great friendship that touched me very much. The “Fat Man” is am officer and gives his young friend many advantages. Their sheer love is wonderful to see. There are some hysterically funny scenes (as when they double date, and Gleason’s date-Tuesday Weld calls him “Fatso” at first and then wanting him for her “Boy Friend’. It’s that sort of scenes you are totally unprepared for, touching the heart very gently. There is a scene when McQueen’s dog dies, that is so powerful, until Gleason, too, dies that make it a painfully beautiful cinema. Truly life like.
Movie Trivia Quiz
1. Who was Frank James in the sequel to Jesse James?
2. Who was the new Fox star that was introduced by this film? (She later portrayed a lady bandit herself)
3. Also in the Return of Frank James, a popular child actor from the 1930’s had a prominent role.
4. Bonnie and Clyde were portrayed by which actors?
5. Who won a best supporting actress for her part in this blockbuster?
6. Who was James Stewart’s biggest fan in Mr. Smith goes to Washington?
7. Which hitch-hiking pair both won Oscars for It Happened One Night?
8. Who was filmdom’s Mr. Deeds?
9. Who was Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm?
10. What actress had the title role in Du Maurier’s Rebecca?
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Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol.. XIV No. 19
Sunday, August 4. 2013
After the frustrations of the last several weeks, the change from July to August found me in a much happier frame of mind (after getting my phone service restored, and returning to Dish Network.) I was able to watch several worthwhile movies, also. That is always one of my octogenarian favorite ways to pass the time!
“Cats are like greatness; some people are born into cat-loving families, some achieve cats, and some have cats thrust upon them.”
I seem to have been such a fortunate person, with permissive parenst! I always had at least one cat, my entire life..
William H. A. Carr
Visits with Lynwood and Marcus
A follow-up to Draft Dodgers Anonymous
Marcus Jordan and I were friends long before our Army experience. I was thirteen when we moved back to Ellisville, and he was three years younger than I, so he rather “allowed” me to dominate our activities. We met at Miss Alline Hill’s home that first summer we were back, and we both were having a hard time making any kind of friend. His mother had died very young, and before either of us knew what was happening, his father (who had a mail route near Ellisville) began courting Miss Alline Hill (who had been my piano teacher for the first four years that I took lessons: then I switched to Miss Bernice Gay, in order to earn high school credits for my piano studies) while Marcus was still studying with the woman who would soon be his step-mother. Mr. Jordan would bring Marcus to our house on the evenings when he had dates with Miss Alline, and we would play all sorts of board games. Always interested in cooking, I would use Marcus as a Guinea Pig as I sprang all sorts of weird food combinations upon him: He would literally lick the platter clean! I had never been around anybody who loved food so much. This was the time in Mississippi history which gave us a particularly wonderful new bottled soft drink: it was called Grappette, and was a little smaller than the same period’s Coca Colas, which was still number one on my heart. But generally, I would open two Grapettes, which we would nurse as long as possible. Marcus’s “Dad” usually came by and usually picked Marcus up around nine o’clock.
After his step mother and piano teacher became one, he started finding faults with her (and vice versa:) He used to tell me and George that any time he went home after eating anything at our house that used garlic (and most of it did), Alline would say, “You’ve been over to those old Imbragulio boys; haven’t you?” As if she didn’t know the answer to that question: and after George had been her finest piano student she ever taught. While we were all together in Richton, even I was praised to high heaven as being so gifted.
Marcus literally fashioned his own life after mine and George’s: he spent three years as one of George’s prize winning students (at such things as the Memphis and Mid South Piano competitions) So, after spending five years, getting a degree in English (with a double major), he ended up in Cincinnati, where his step mother had studied: Her father gave her enough money to pay for two years at a conservatory: She spent the entire amount, but got no degree. She was one of those musicians who can do no wrong: like George (who could hear a brand new song over the radio, walk into our living room and play it perfectly every time- the first time.! I used to think I would be able to do the same thing when I was older, but I never had that particular talent: I was able to sit and make up songs, and later writing three full fledged operas, plus doing scores for the Joe Jefferson Players, as well as the Mobile Theater Guild. I worked with Eugene Walter, until his death, trying to set all of his vast supply of poems to music. He was always extremely complimentary when they were completed.
At the Cincinnati Conservatory, where he got his Master’s Degree, and lived with his piano teacher (a noted European artist) and her huaband. Since he was a semi-invalid, Marcus had the unpleasant duties like bathing him, etc.
Now, while he had still been a student of the woman, I began routing my trips to and from Michigan via Cincinnati. For a while, Marcus had his own little apartments. This was ideal! It wasn’t until later that he moved in with the others. I’d always notify him when I would be driving back to Ellisville, and that he was more than welcome to ride “home” with me.
It was one of these times, shortly after I decided to go back to Michigan State that fall (after Daddy’s death) to finish the PhD that Daddy had been so determined I should have. Marcus and I were both readers of fiction, and had both been blown away by the novels of Thomas Wolff-particularly You Can’t Go Home Again.
Marcus had not seen Lynwood since we were together at Fort Jackson, so when fate caused our mutual friend to be stricken with Tuberculosis, and sent to the TB hospital in North Carolina, we saw it as our best chance to have one more time together’ and, as it turned out, was just what it was. They never saw each other again.
Marcus and I treated our friend to a delicious meal (the town had been Wolff’s home town) and kept him out as long as we dared, before driving him back to the Sanitorium. And of course, we had many memories to share
But, my path was never very far from his work area! So, when I taught at JCJC, Lynwood had a gorgeous apartment in New Orleans (it was the kind that is so typical of New Orleans, with a front gate, and breath-taking flowers all over the place!
(To be continued)
Old Movie Review
A Majority of One
I had seen this film on TV years ago, but never saw it in a theater. In my estimation, it was Rosalind Russell’s best film, after Auntie Mame! She portrays a Jewish mother, whose son-in-law and daughter, are being given a much better assignment (he works for the government); the only trouble is they have to move to Tokyo, Japan! They finally talk Mama into going with them. On the second lap of the journey, they travel by luxury liner, and it is here Rosalind meets Alec Guinness! The attraction is one of the most enchanting things I have seen since “Mame fell for her Texas millionaire!”
It turns out that the son in law and Mother’s new “Friend” need to agree on the project they are assigned, but there is a conflict between them that makes this very difficult. It all works out down to the point of her returning to New York (she turns him down when he propose marriage) but the final scene is of his visit to New York (where he has been assigned to the United Nations) which means they can still plan lots of activities together, and I got the feeling that she would end up as his wife! Anyway, my face hurt after watching this last time: I kept having to wipe my eyes! (****)
Old Movie Trivia Quiz
1. Rosalind Russell was in a Eugene O’Neal drama. What was the title?
2. In My Sister Eileen, what famous American composer wrote the movie score?
3. In Aunty Mame, who was the woman who created the character Agnes Gooch?
4. Who was Mame’s vaudeville partner (Mame always got it wrong)
5. It Happened in Bombay starred which MGM super star with Rosalind?
6. What actor plated the adored nephew grown up? Think about combs!
7. His Girl Friday paired Roz with what Hollywood favorite?
8. No Time for Comedy had her with this film legend.
9. She played stage mother to Natalie Wood in this Broadway musical.
10. How many Oscars did she receive in her career?