"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" ... Bogart, Shakespeare, The Maltese Falcon, Those Great Movies

Friday, December 30, 2011

Countdown to 2012 -- Will The World Really End?

Should we trust the Mayan calendar that does not go beyond 2012?  Maybe they just ran out of flat stones and chisels ... that's as good a theory as any.  I have made plans for 2012 anyway.  If the world winks out sometime during the year, at least I won't have to do all the work I'm making for myself.  My blog is definitely a main focus.  I have not written anything substantial for a couple of months, and I have ideas that are waiting to be born.  My first post of 2012 will be one I have promised to myself for a long time -- a celebration of one of my favorite performers, Sophie Tucker.  I also want to do a list of the top 50 movies that I love; participate in the CMBA Comedy Classics blogathon; do a companion post to my earlier Bad Bette Davis pictorial by showing the Good Bette; and write a tribute to the great romantic classic films. 

Before all that, however, comes New Year's Eve.  Mine is all planned!

My date is the intense, intellectual type with a little kink ...
I have a lovely new ensemble for our "marathon" evening ...
We plan to start imbibing early ...
A gourmet meal to ring in the new year ...
We will be partying at my place, so we won't have to deal with this guy ...
... and this won't be our eventual destination ...
The party's over ... it's time to call it a day ...


Thursday, December 22, 2011

God Bless Us All, Every One ...

So far, I am being allowed by my fiendishly fickle computer demon to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas -- at least I will know if that is so after I try to post it.  Hit and miss is the phrase of the day for my internet connection.  Well, I'll give it a try...

On my sidebar is a spiritual proclamation for Christmas, and here is the worldly wish I make for all of my Faithful Readers and friends:

May you find lots of presents under the tree ...

May you drink wassail (in my case, frozen daiquiris)
until you are dizzy and happy ...

and may you eat goodies until you go into a joyful coma ...

               ***MERRY CHRISTMAS***

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Genius of Picasso

The eye that saw the world as no one else did.

The masters of great art have been on my mind, and Picasso is one of my great loves.  He captures the human condition in a completely unique way. I am unable to post anything very substantial right now, and a comprehensive biography of Picasso would be difficult because of ongoing computer problems.  However, I would like to share with my Faithful Readers some of my favorites:

Weeping Woman

Picasso painting with light

Girl Before A Mirror
Mother and Child
The Visit - Two Sisters
Romancing Picasso Art within Art Painting by k Madison Moore Inspired by Picasso.
Old Man With Guitar


It is very difficult to do justice to Picasso's masterpiece in this forum.
This enormous painting depicts a small Spanish Basque town
obliterated by Nazi bombers during the Spanish Civil War
The last two paintings hang on my living room wall.  If I had to choose just one more, it would be Art Within Art, an explosion of joyous color.  I don't pretend to be a Picasso expert -- I am only self-educated in art that speaks to me.  It is feeling more than knowledge that moves me.  Picasso is not to everybody's taste, but I hope you have found something in these paintings that I particularly love.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Can You Describe A Movie In One Short Phrase?

In this game, you must describe each movie in a short phrase, no longer than 6 words (I just picked that number out of the air).  All are classics with their remakes ... some are not exactly remakes but films about the same story.  You don't have to judge which is better, but you can if you want to.  It should be a little challenging and interesting to see what you can say in a few words ...

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Fredric March and Fredric March
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Spencer Tracy and Spencer Tracy
Mutiny on the Bounty
Clark Gable and Charles Laughton
Mutiny on the Bounty
Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard

The Fly
David Hedison
The Fly
Jeff Goldblum
The Thing From Another World
James Arness
The Thing
Kurt Russell
Gunfight at the OK Corral
Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas
Wyatt Earp
Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid
Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blogathon For The Cure ... What Happened To His Moustache!?

Bette of Bette's Classic Movie Blog,  http://www.bettesmovieblog.blogspot.com/ is sponsoring a blogathon for a group called Movember, striving for the education and research of prostate and other cancers in men.  Every November, men grow moustaches in support of the cause, and Bette decided to advertise this worthy venture with a blogathon about classic stars with moustaches.  Click on her link above to find other participants and more information about Movember.  Also, click on this link if you would like to make a donation for the cause:  http://us.movember.com/donate/   I wanted to participate, and decided to try to find pictures of famous moustached stars without their moustaches ... some still look great, others not so much.  See what you think ...

George Brent -- doesn't need a moustache to look great!

Love this one -- somebody managed to make handsome, distinguished
 Basil Rathbone look terrible with no moustache and a bad toupee in
"Tower of London" ...  Plus, we get a bonus pic of Boris without hair!

Errol Flynn in "The Prince and the Pauper" ...
well, really, does he ever look less than gorgeous?

John Barrymore, the Great Profile doesn't need his moustache to look great!

William Powell in "Love Crazy" ... much better with a moustache ...
However, it would be a definite handicap here!

Clark Gable in "Night Nurse" ... still imposing without the
 lip brush ... boy, Barbara Stanwyck isn't afraid of anybody!

Vincent Price in "The Mad Magician" ... he may be crazy,
but he is just as distinguished and handsome ...
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. ... what a cutie, with or without!

I tried and failed to find a picture of David Niven without a moustache, even in his very young years ... I think he must have been born with it!

ADDENDUM:  OOPS!  FlickChick reminded me of David Niven in Wuthering Heights, sans moustache!  So here he is, looking a little stunned (maybe he just got it waxed off), but just as handsome as ever!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

That Special Day When Turkeys Hope Your Family Serves Ham ...

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!  Here are a couple of funnies to get you into the spirit ...

Yuck, yuck, yuck ...

Boy, I LOVE Maxine!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ClassicBecky Nests In Her Treehouse

Now isn't this more elegant than typing on a keyboard in
sweatshirt and pajama pants?  Slower, but more elegant!

To my Faithful Readers:  I take my pen in hand to tell you that I am back from my offline adventures, happy to be rejoining all of you in cyberland.  I couldn't help but think of a favorite movie, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.  I don't look like anything like Cary Grant (thank heaven, since I'm a girl), and I don't have Mr. Blandings' apparently unlimited financial resources, but my experience has been similar.  I've spent the last couple of weeks selling a house, moving and making a new nest for myself.  It has been a move with some unusual complications (that really means it has been the lowest pit of hell), but I can at last say over and out to all the twists and turns in selling my house and finding my new apartment. I love it!  I'm up on the top floor of the building and feel like I'm living in the treetops.  Tall ceilings and huge windows -- it's just my style!  I sure look forward to doing some writing, and I will be lurking around your blogs and commenting on all of your work ...  one of my favorite occupations.  I'm glad to be reconnected while I finish feathering my new nest.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

They Boogeyman Is Here

Halloween was not always about children gathering sweets for the sweet.  Long ago it was the deadly serious twilight of All Hallow's Eve, when demons prowled the night and people disguised themselves in demonic costumes so as not to be recognized as human prey.  At the cockcrow, the demons were banished back to the underworld, and God's light shone on the Day of All Saints.  It was all about the battle between the profane and the sacred.  Two striking images from the famous movie The Exorcist portray this eternal war:

The Profane

The Sacred

Not everyone agrees about the observation of Halloween -- some religions consider it blasphemous, others as just an innocent night of fun and scares for children.  If you believe in the Bible, you know that the sacred wins out in the end.  The question is, why has Halloween changed from serious to fun?  Is it because the culture has abandoned the belief in true evil?  Is it because the culture has evolved to believe that evil is powerless against the sacred at any time?  Or, do we just want the candy?  I know what I think.  I wonder what you think?  I wonder if any of us will be able to sleep tonight after seeing that demon!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Around She Goes, And Where She Stops, Nobody Knows!

I love the Twilight Zone, but I never expected to find myself living in it.  Within the last 72 hours, I stepped from one dimension to another -- I had a nice little house to rent, and my own house closing was scheduled for this Wednesday.  In one day, the closing was postponed, and I found out that my potential landlady is completely insane.  I am now bereft, bothered and bewildered, caught in a legal whirlpool, and also really mad.  So I have adopted the Tasmanian Devil as my alter-ego for the moment.

I rented the same little house 25 years ago when my boys were in grade school.  We loved it.  My landlady then was eccentric, but knew her business.  We lived there 7 years and I've always remembered it fondly.  I had kept in touch with the landlady over the years -- she would call every couple of years and ask how my sons were doing, how I was doing.  It was really sweet.  So when the offer on my house was accepted, I saw that the house was for rent.  I was very sad to hear that my landlady had died last Christmas.  However, her daughter (I will call her Myrtle) was taking over, and very interested in having me again for a tenant.  You see, I pay my bills on time and I don't tear up houses.  Myrtle lives 4 hours away and is rarely able to come to town to check on the house.  It has been refurbished and just lovely.  All looked to be going great.  Myrtle sounded eccentric too, but I just figured it was a family trait.  There is just one difference -- her mother was eccentric ... Myrtle is crazy

She was allowing me to move in before we signed a lease -- she believed me to be trustworthy, and indeed I am.  This past Friday, we got everything boxed up, all junk removed, and the moving men were coming Saturday morning.  In Friday's mail, I received the lease in the mail to sign and return.  Oh my God -- Myrtle had taken a standard lease and added to it 52 -- count 'em-- 52 codicils, handwritten in a crabbed scrawl.  What I could do, what I couldn't do (1 nail for 1 picture only), how to scrub the floor, etc. etc.  If anything inside the house breaks, it must be my fault so I would have to pay for it.  I was not to allow water to stand on the countertops.  If something spilled on the rug, I was not to use any cleaning products, but call her first and pay for professional carpet cleaners of her choice.  She knew I had a cat, but the lease said no pets -- yet one of the codicils said "Cat shall not climb mini-blinds."  Huh?  I felt like I was in the belly of the beast.  I cannot even begin to try to describe the 12 page lease with the 52 handwritten clauses, and how crazy it really is.  My sons read it and flatly refused to move me in there at the mercy of a crazy person.  I sincerely thank God that the lease didn't arrive on Saturday afternoon or Monday, when I would have already been moved in.  Just the thought of it makes me shudder.  So I turned down the house (I can't bring myself to describe that conversation).  It was a huge disappointment, to say the least. 

On the same day I got the lease, my realtor called and said that the buyer's FHA loan would not be approved until lead paint all around the house, window trims, door trims, porch had been scraped off, painted and every chip swept up.  It's an old house in an old neighborhood -- all the paint is lead paint.  So the closing was postponed for this coming Wednesday.  The FHA appraiser was here 3 weeks ago, and we just found out.  Apparently the buyer's realtor did not read the appraisal report correctly, and just realized himself what was being asked before the loan could go through.  The buyer was perfectly willing to do it himself after closing, but oh no -- FHA refuses the loan until it's done.  So the painter has to spend at least 3 days doing all that, then FHA wants 2-3 days, then the bank wants 3 days -- the closing will not occur, if all goes well, until late next week, if then. 

So here I sit, boxes all around me, wondering if I'm going to be leaving at all.  Meanwhile, the house is being spruced up, which really makes me whirling mad because if I could have afforded that kind of thing myself, I wouldn't sell in the first place!  Irony can be so ironic sometimes ... (I love that clever phrase!)  Of course, the first thing I corrected, the most important thing, was cancelling my transfer of AT&T.  I knew that Turner Classic Movies and my computer would save my sanity!  On Saturday, I just spent the day recovering.  Today I looked for places to live.  Now I'm here for a while until the next round of moving plans begins.  My son the Marine refers to events like these as FUBAR.  I couldn't say it better.

I don't usually do personal kinds of posts, but had to get it out and let my Faithful Readers and Friends know that I am still here for a while.  I will be making the rounds and catching up on your wonderful blogs, between crying jags -- LOL!  Actually, I am doing extremely well through all this.  I'm going on faith, doing what I can do, looking for another place to live, all the things that must be done.  I have not once gone to bed at noon and pulled the covers over my head.  I think that is quite an accomplishment!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Classic Movie Blog Association Annual Awards

I've said it before and I'll say it again...
The best classic movie organization on the Web

I just want to thank all members of the CMBA who voted my article, Mobsters, Pals and Skirts, as Best Classic Movie Article for 2011.  If you have not read it and are interested, click this link to the article:  http://www.classicbeckybrainfood.blogspot.com/2011/04/mobsters-pals-and-skirts-golden-age-of.html.

There is no way to say it without sounding cliche, but there were some great articles in competition for all the categories this year.  Click on the link below to find the list of winners and final nominees -- all of these are well worth reading.  Thanks again, from the bottom of my classic movie-loving heart!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Look Back ......

I am in a nostalgic mood, it's autumn, Halloween is coming, and I decided to re-print one of my earliest posts, done on October 21, 2009. It fits the season. I did not yet know most of you, my Faithful Readers, and I'd like to share it with you. It's a strange, wonderful little movie that I don't think has ever been given its due. If I wrote it today, I would give more information about history, trivia -- all the things I have learned over the past two years. However, I am not changing any text. All that I have done is add a couple of great pictures that I found. I didn't even know Bing.com existed when I started, and I didn't know how to do captions!

My post is just below.  Changing the date on an older post does not make it a new one.  It doesn't show up on blogrolls!  Thus, this little prologue -- if you have not read it, I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Legends of The Headless Horseman

Dark and frightening horseman ... artist unknown

I always thought that the story of the Headless Horseman from Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and was a uniquely American story.  Not so, it seems, for the legend, with some variations, exists in Ireland, Scotland, Germany and likely other countries as well.  Each paragraph of my article is illustrated with some really beautiful works of art depicting the Horseman.
Wild chase through the woods ... artist unknown
Irving describes the horseman thus:   "Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion ... quickened his steed in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind,--the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him. ...There was something in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!--but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!"

From  the British Museum, equestrian
painting of a headless horseman
In 1796, Sir Walter Scott translated The Wild Huntsman, originally written by German poet Gottfried Burger, based on Germanic legend of a huntsman who does have a head, chasing unsuspecting riders in the night to their death.  Other Germanic folklore speaks of a headless horseman who wears a long grey coat, astride a grey horse, blowing a hunting horn to warn hunters of impending accidents.  In other versions, he has a pack of hounds with tongues of fire.  (Cool!)

A classic film-lover's horseman ... stark black and white

Scotsman Robert Burns wrote Tam O'Shanter in 1790, a narrative poem about a poor man riding at night, chased by really disgusting demons of all kinds who cannot cross running water or bridges.

Striking illustration by Kanaru92
I love the legend from the Green Isle best!  In Irish folklore the headless horseman, called the Dullahan, is a terrifying figure galloping through the night, holding his head under his arm, as the arbiter of death.  He wields a human spine as a whip, gallops to a place where someone will die and reins in his wild horse, where the head calls out the doomed person's name.  As told in the legend taken down from oral tradition by Thomas Crofton Croker in Fairy Legends and Traditions of The South of Ireland (1906), the headless horseman is completely different and much more dark and horrifying than any of the above versions:  

(As told by Irishman Charley Culnan on his way home from the pub one dark night) -- "His vision failed in carrying him further than the top of the collar of the figure's coat, which was a scarlet single-breasted hunting frock, having a waist of a very old-fashioned cut reaching to the saddle, with two huge shining buttons at about a yard's distance behind ... see further he could not, and after straining his eyes for a considerable time to no purpose, he exclaimed, with pure vexation, "By the big bridge of Mallow, it is no head at all he has!"   "Look again, Charley Culnane," said a hoarse voice, that seemed to proceed from under the right arm of the figure.  Charley did look again, and now in the proper place, for he clearly saw, under the aforesaid right arm, that head from which the voice had proceeded, and such a head no mortal ever saw before. It looked like a large cream cheese hung round with black puddings: no speck of colour enlivened the ashy paleness of the depressed features; the skin lay stretched over the unearthly surface, almost like the parchment head of a drum. Two fiery eyes of prodigious circumference, with a strange and irregular motion flashed like meteors ..., and a huge mouth reached from either extremity of two ears, which peeped forth from under a profusion of matted locks of lustreless blackness. This head, which the figure had evidently hitherto concealed from Charley's eyes, now burst upon his view in all its hideousness."

Unique art works of the Horseman, with a Disney finale:
I love this impressionistic sketch by Maquinafantasma

Black and brooding, with the demon
horse, by Jurei-Chan

Pumpkin carving, artist unknown

                           A YEARLY HALLOWEEN TRADITION -- DISNEY!

By the time the legend of the Headless Horseman got to Disney, the terrifying demonic creature was still scary, but mainly to children, and the dark nature of the stories, especially the Irish Dullahan, had changed the head to a glowing pumpkin. However, I will always have a special place in my heart for Disney's bumbling Ichabod Crane, and will remember that I was just as scared as poor Ichabod when the horseman gave chase through the wind-swept autumn woods!

Who could ever forget Disney's Legend of Sleepy Hollow  from 1949?
Seeing THIS coming at your would scare anyone of ANY age