Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So low-key, I was nearly snoozin'

I turned 60, today, but instead of going to have dinner at Tony Roma's on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, I hit traffic and didn't feel up to battling that and then crossing the bridge and then walking to the restaurant so wimped out, came home, made a sandwich from some left-over brisket from an okay BBQ place in Rochester called Sticky Lips and watched an old movie. "The Scarlet Pimpernel", with...

Leslie Howard and...

Merle Oberon.

It was made in 1935 and is about a British aristocrat helping French aristocrats escape France immediately after the fall of the Bastille. Very anti-rabble and pro-aristocracy. It's based on a book by the Baroness D'Orczy and was a huge hit...but it's an odd film. All the action takes place off-screen.

Seriously, near the beginning a family is being taken to the guillotine but one cart blocks another cart and people are yelling at each other and then a man climbs onto a roof and cries, "Long live the king" and everyone goes after him...and the next shot is the family being smuggled past the gates of Paris. Not on moment of the actual rescue is shown.

That happens several times throughout the film, so it was hard to take, that way. BUT...some of the imagery was amazing. There's a dungeon of aristocrats waiting to be called up for their execution, and children are playing blind man's bluff as men have a game of chess and women prepare themselves to look their best. One shot of a woman reading a book is almost like a portrait from the time, it's so exquisite...and heartbreaking in her acceptance and strength in the face of death.

Leslie Howard was fun to watch as both a hero and a foppish twit. Merle Oberon is lovely but not of the same calibre actor as him. Nigel Bruce is funny as the Prince of Wales and Raymond Massey is a wonderful villain.

It made for a nice, easy evening.

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