Archive for April, 2008

: Fritz Lang’s Dark Masterpiece, Still Shocking After All These Years (also known as M – Mörder unter uns (Germany) Murderers Among Us(working title)
M is for murder. It is as the mark of Cain, a commentary etched into the dehumanised soul of our society, M in the context of the movie holds a visual clue: it is tagged by an informer who is in the guise of a blind. He also serves as the front for the underworld.
The letter M is the same in its mirror image: society as we get to see in everyday world and shown to be something decent and morally uplifting holds a mirror image, the darker face of the underworld.  In Fritz Lang’s bleak vision of humanity dog eats dog. period. Elsewhere we see superimposed shots of police and the underworld  planning a  concerted manhunt with the city map opened out in front. Each has his own self interest and imperative that doesnot necessarily mean murder most foul must be eradicated from their midst. Oh no in the hall of mirrors no one is completely untouched by evil. The police have their own interests to protect as the underworld have theirs.
Now I shall outline the plot that is simple enough.
In an unnamed city (the story was based on a case in Duesseldorf, but many critics place the setting in Berlin, where “M” was filmed), a child murderer is stalking the streets. The Police search is so intense, it is disturbing the ‘normal’ criminals, and the local hoods decide to help find the murderer as quickly as possible.

A psychotic child murderer stalks a city, and despite an exhaustive investigation fueled by public hysteria and outcry, the police have been unable to find him. But the police crackdown does have one side-affect, it makes it very inconvenient for the organized criminal underground to operate. So they decide that the only way to get the police off their backs is to catch the murderer themselves. The film is constructed as a double manhunt.
‘Peter Lorre’s sweaty, puffy, froggy-eyed portrayal of a child murderer remains one of the most frightening images in screen history. All moist flesh and grubby, fat little fingers, infantile and pathetic yet truly monstrous at once, Lorre’s character is one of the great monuments to the true squalor of evil. He is not banal in the least, but neither is he dramatic: He’s a little worm with an unspeakable obsession, insane and yet a horrible reflection of the society that created him.

In a brilliant early montage Lang shows us the young Elsie being suavely picked up by her shadowy killer, led along streets and into the woods. There’s no on-screen violence, of course, but the sense of menace is unbearably intense, particularly as Lang signifies the murderer’s dementia in musical terms, having him whistle a selection from “Peer Gynt” as the demon’s grip on his soul grows more fierce. Lang polishes off the sequence with two horrifying images: Elsie’s ball bouncing across the grass, losing energy, and reaching stasis; and Elsie’s balloon caught (as if in torment) in the suspended telephone wires.’
… The cops, under great pressure, mount a massive manhunt; they attack the only target they have, which is the underworld — these guys are so well organized, they even have a stolen-sandwich ring! — and so the crooks respond by attempting on their own to find the killer.

In allegorical terms, Lang seemed to be getting at the escalating conflict between the increasingly inept Weimar Republic and the increasingly efficient underground Nazi Party, and the underworld, being more merciless and better organized, is able to uncover the villain before police.
But even when Lang documents the final apprehension (in a brilliantly edited and timed sequence where the cops are racing to a building that the gangsters have all but commandeered as they search it), he has a surprise. That is the ironic trial of which the clammy little human mushroom, where at last he speaks for himself, declares his own insanity and the pain it’s caused him and asks them who they are to judge — interesting questions to be asked in the Germany of 1931.

But the movie is, perhaps, just as interesting as a piece of film design as it is as a piece of narrative. It was the domestic high-water mark of German expressionist filmmakers, who were about to be dispersed around the world by the rise of those same Nazis, who would gain power in 1933.

German expressionism, which may have gotten to its strangest moment in 1919′s “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” was essentially a visual version of a treacherous universe. It was spread by this diaspora of fleeing German genius (including Lang, who went on to have a distinguished American career) and came to light in the works of Hitchcock and Welles but perhaps most notably in that movie genre known as film noir, which dominated the American screen in the late ’40s.

(ack: Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post published: April 22, 1998)

Germany( The Nazis banned this movie in July1934-1945), Black and White, 117 min / 110 min (2004 Criterion DVD edition)
Memorable Quotes:
Hans Beckert: I can’t help what I do! I can’t help it, I can’t…
Criminal: The old story! We never can help it in court!
Hans Beckert: What do you know about it? Who are you anyway? Who are you? Criminals? Are you proud of yourselves? Proud of breaking safes or cheating at cards? Things you could just as well keep your fingers off. You wouldn’t need to do all that if you’d learn a proper trade or if you’d work. If you weren’t a bunch of lazy bastards. But I… I can’t help myself! I have no control over this, this evil thing inside of me, the fire, the voices, the torment!
Schraenker: Do you mean to say that you have to murder?
Hans Beckert: It’s there all the time, driving me out to wander the streets, following me, silently, but I can feel it there. It’s me, pursuing myself! I want to escape, to escape from myself! But it’s impossible. I can’t escape, I have to obey it. I have to run, run… endless streets. I want to escape, to get away! And I’m pursued by ghosts. Ghosts of mothers and of those children… they never leave me. They are always there… always, always, always!, except when I do it, when I… Then I can’t remember anything. And afterwards I see those posters and read what I’ve done, and read, and read… did I do that? But I can’t remember anything about it! But who will believe me? Who knows what it’s like to be me? How I’m forced to act… how I must, must… don’t want to, must! Don’t want to, but must! And then a voice screams! I can’t bear to hear it! I can’t go on! I can’t… I can’t…

Pickpocket with 6 Watches: There are more police on the street tonight than whores.
Children: [singing] Just you wait, it won’t be long. The man in black will soon be here. With his cleaver’s blade so true. He’ll make mincemeat out of YOU!
[to union member asleep next to him]
Beggar’s Union Member: Stop snoring! You’ll wake up the lice.
Frau Beckmann: Elsie?… Elsie?… ELSIE!
Hans Beckert: That is a nice ball you have.
Franz, the burglar: [Franz is being tricked into thinking he killed the night watchman, and is going to jail for it] Please, Herr Kommissar! I’ll tell you everything; even who we were looking for in that damned building.
Inspector Groeber: Really. Who?
Franz, the burglar: The child murderer, Herr Kommissar!
Woman in Crowd: Shoot him like a mad dog!
Man in Pub: Hey, it’s fatty Lohmann!
Everyone in Pub: [Chanting] Lohmann, Lohmann, Lohmann!
Elisabeth Winkler, Beckert’s landlady: Could you speak louder please, I’m a bit hard of hearing.
Policeman: As if I couldn’t tell.
Inspector Karl Lohmann: Good God! The window sill!
Peter Lorre…     Hans Beckert
Ellen Widmann    …     Frau Beckmann
Inge Landgut    …     Elsie Beckmann
Otto Wernicke    …     Inspector Karl Lohmann
Theodor Loos    …     Inspector Groeber
Gustaf Gründgens    …     Schränker
Friedrich Gnaß    …     Franz, the burglar
Fritz Odemar    …     The cheater
Paul Kemp    …     Pickpocket with six watches
Theo Lingen    …     Bauernfänger
Rudolf Blümner    …     Beckert’s defender
Georg John    …     Blind panhandler
Franz Stein    …     Minister
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur    …     Police chief
Gerhard Bienert    …     Criminal secretary


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117 mins, 1937, France, Black & White

One of the great achievements in world cinema, Renoir’s “The Grand Illusion” explores the seemingly arbitrary borders of class, language, and citizenship that divide us. Renoir films have a way of talking about one thing while letting us explore layers beneath the obvious. La Grande Illusion is about soldiers escaping war camps to freedom while the subterranean levels show the futility they are escaping to. War is a corrupting influence whichever side you pitch yourselves into. Renoir’s great human drama explores our predicament, on one side heroism and the other the mark of Cain that stamps us as robots perpetuating the plans of some greedy, ambitious war mongers. As true with any great cinema, the narrative while sticking to conventional cinematic idiom transcends its frames. Banned by the Nazis on the eve of WWII, “Illusion” remains a compelling hybrid of the prison-escape genre and Renoir’s own brand of warm, humanistic drama, a pacifist statement as nobly moving as All Quiet on the Western Front.
This film is an archetypal prison camp escape story also outlining a barbed social analysis, demonstrating how shared aristocratic backgrounds (and military professionalism) forge a bond of sympathy between the German commandant (von Stroheim) and the senior French officer (Fresnay); how the exigencies of a wartime situation impel Fresnay to sacrifice himself (and Stroheim to shoot him) so that two of his men may make good their escape; and how those two escapees (Gabin and Dalio), once their roles as hero-warriors are over, will return home reduced. One go back to his working class background and the other shall once again be stamped as a dirty Jew. The war was merely an experience that would barely whitwash the blot of their class or birth.
The movie seems to have influenced Billy Wilder, who directed Stalag 17 another successful escape movie. In Renoir’s classic there is a shot of train wheels moving that dissolves into a gramophone record playing in the German camp. Did this give Henri-Georges Clouzot the idea of that celebrated shot of bathroom scene in Les Diaboliques /Psycho(Hitchcock)? (The montage of shots of the eye of the victim  and the grate on the bathroom floor similarly works on the principle of similitude.)
As for the title illusions refer to the irony of war,- as a cleansing agent, to do away with the social interactions between classes (allowed to settle down and become obligations) The WWI did just that. It tolled the knell of the Hapsburgs, Hohenzollern and the Romanovs. The collapse of European monarchies showed on what illusory foundations were their rights set up.
At the end of the movie Marechal (Jean Gabin) speaks of coming back to Elsa, his newfound love interest. He is sure that before he could do that he has to ‘ finish this bloody war.’ Rosenthal’s reply is:’ That is all an illusion…’
Historically within two years Europe was in to another war more bitter than the one preceded it..
Expertly directed and wonderfully acted by Gabin, Fresnay, Von Stroheim, and Marcel Dalio as French-Jewish compatriot Rosenthal, “Illusion” is ultimately a brilliant critique of war itself. It was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1938.
I first saw this movie (a grainy old 16mm print) while I had enrolled with the Alliance Française in Mumbai, in the eary 70’s. It was a moving experience. Since then I have seen it number of times and it still remains a favorite in my collection.
Raffenstein as the commandment of the fortress camp with a touch of apology explains to his prisoner Boeldieu, “ …Believe me I feel nothing but distaste for my present job, as much as you do.”
Fresnay asks von Stroheim why he has shown special consideration to him and not to Marechal and Rosenthal. Fresnay adds that they are good soldiers.
B: I am afraid we can do nothing to turn back the clock.
R: I do not know who is going to win this war, but I know one thing: the end of it, whatever it may be, will be the end of the Rauffensteins and the Boeldieus.

“Most compelling of all the film’s characters is the aristocratic German officer von Rauffenstein, unforgettably incarnated by stiff-backed Erich von Stroheim; although he runs a prison camp, von Rauffenstein cannot help but strike up a friendship with de Boeldieu, a kindred spirit from the doomed nobility. La Grande Illusion is one of those movies that makes you feel good about such long-outmoded ideas as sacrifice and brotherhood. After it won a prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1937, the Nazis declared the film “Cinematographic Enemy Number One.” There can be no higher praise. “ Robert Horton

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Raise The Sky

Raise The Sky ©

Raise the sky, upwards;
My feet cannot unwind
From ground for reasons sound;
Keep raising
Till vaults of heaven be found.
Say one more child was made
Feel at home.

Soles of my feet see no reason
To be up when for down
They are made:
The first touch of nascent earth
Has convinced as much
The body with all its parts
Must make first a home:
Say one more child was made
Feel at home.


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It’s tough, on the waterfront. Filmed on location in Hoboken, New jersey it is violent, with strong language – telling a priest to “go to hell”? Shocking stuff in 1954. Director Elia Kazan, the cast, and Boris Kaufmann, who took the pictures, all come out of this gritty drama covered in glory. Which is more than can be said for the characters in the story.

New York dock workers struggle to eke a living but they are in the grip of the corrupt unions. Of course, it is not true that labor unions were, or are, always corrupt, but hey, it’s a story. Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), his boxing career behind him, hangs around his brother Charley (Rod Steiger) who is lawyer to union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee Cobb). Neither Charley or Johnny are as nice or as honest as they ought to be. We know Terry is nice because he looks after his pigeons on the rooftop and he once showed promise as a boxer. He could have been a contender.

At Johnny’s request, Terry asks a union worker to meet him on the roof. When Johnny’s henchmen push him off Terry is shocked:

Terry: I figured the worst they was gonna do was lean on him a little bit…
Truck: A canary. Maybe he could sing but he couldn’t fly.

Terry starts to feel guilty when he meets the victim’s sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint). No wonder, she’s the sweet sort of dame who would make any red blooded young man feel guilty about something. Through her he meets Father Barry (Karl Malden) who persuades Terry to give the information that will finish the racketeering on the docks.

Method acting triumphs in On the Waterfront.
All this acclaim, plus the box office success, was well deserved. The dialogue is tight and simple, the brooding tenements and docks are starkly and realistically portrayed. The drama unfolds with menace. The actors are all convincing, even the smaller parts for thugs. Cobb and Steiger make truly villainous villains. For Steiger in particular this is perhaps his finest performance.

Brando’s performance as the inarticulate former pug whose inherent decency forces him, reluctantly, to take on the hoodlums is magnificent. And yet, in the much-parodied car scene in which he delivers the ‘contender’ speech, he is almost acted off the screen by Steiger.
Barry Norman, 100 Best Films of the Century

The memorable scene is where Terry climbs into the back of the car with his brother Steiger who wants to do him a favour. He wants him to get the chip off his shoulder and hang out with the thugs as before.
Certainly, Terry does not feel he owes his brother anything:
Marlon Brando

Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, “Kid, this ain’t your night. We’re going for the price on Wilson.” You remember that? “This ain’t your night”! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn’t have to take them dives for the short-end money …. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.

Director: Elia Kazan
Terry Malloy: Marlon Brando
Charley Malloy: Rod Steiger
Johnny Friendly: Lee J. Cobb
Edie Doyle: Eva Marie Saint
Glover: Leif Erickson
Truck: Tony Galento
Kayo Dugan: Pat Henning
Writer: Budd Schulberg
Score: Leonard Bernstein
Academy Awards
Nominated (12)

Won (8)

* Best Picture
* Best Actor (Brando)
* Best Supporting Actress (Saint)
* Best Director
* Best Story and Screenplay
* Best Cinematography
* Best Art Direction – Set Decoration
* Best Editing

compiler: benny

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GWTW – is possibly the most watched film ever. David O. Selznick’s grand obsession was to make a great movie from Margaret Mitchell’s best selling novel of the Civil War. He spent lavishly, recruited great stars (and made one out of Vivien Leigh) and ended up with a piece of cinema that rocked 1939 audiences and still strikes a chord with many today.

Despite an epic canvas, this is fundamentally the story of one vivacious but flawed heroine. Casting the part of Scarlett O’Hara was a piece of hype that had everybody buzzing with anticipation. Actresses were ready to kill to take this coveted role. The field included Lucille Ball, Tallulah Bankhead, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Irene Dunne, Paulette Goddard, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Norma Shearer and Mae West. Selznick famously ran a 2 year talent search for someone to play the role and 2000 screen tests were done. When Leigh was cast, she was unknown to American audiences, although no stranger to the London stage, or to the bed of Lawrence Olivier.

People were expecting great things of Leigh, and they got them. Her co-star, Clark Gable, gave the performance of his life as Rhett Butler. His part too was hotly contested; Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper and Errol Flynn all had their names associated with the role at one time or another.

When Rhett Butler tells Scarlet O’Hara:

You need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.

we all know he doesn’t exactly mean “kissing”. The Civil War is merely a backdrop, this is really a story about sex.

Numerous writer and directors worked on the film: George Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming, kidnapped from directing the unfinished The Wizard of Oz. Fleming collected the Best Director Oscar for GWTW but was himself replaced by Sam Wood, before everything was in the can. Scott Fitzgerald, Ben Hecht and others all had a hand in the screenplay credited to Sidney Howard who won another Oscar, posthumously. Yet more names contributed to the cinematography but the true begetter of this film was David O Selznick.

Hattie McDaniel played the black slave Mammy who dotingly serves Scarlet, while chiding her recklessness. McDaniel was the first black actress to win an Academy Award. McDaniel’s role in Gone With the Wind was such a strong racial stereotype that her award may not actually have moved forward the cause of equality for black actors.

Certainly, the film presents slavery as an acceptable norm. Margaret Mitchell’s romanticized view of the Old South is shown on screen for us to read:

There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind…

…and thank goodness it has.

Doubtless, one of the last of those Gallant Cavaliers  was Ashley Wilkes, theatrically portrayed by Leslie Howard. A true Southern gentleman who is the object of Scarlett’s ambition. Unfortunately for Scarlett, Ashley plans to marry his demure cousin Melanie Hamilton from Atlanta. Rhett Butler overhears Scarlett’s desperate protestation of love for Ashley. Out of spite, Scarlett marries Melanie’s sickly brother, but is soon widowed when the war begins.

The action moves to Atlanta, where Scarlett meets Rhett again, now much admired as a blockade runner. But one man’s hero is another man’s profiteer:

I believe in Rhett Butler. He’s the only cause I know. The rest doesn’t mean much to me.

Rhett Butler sounds a lot like Casablanca’s Rick Blaine.

The Yankees lay siege to Atlanta. As the city falls to the Union troops, Melanie goes into labor. In a memorable scene we see Scarlett passing among thousand of wounded soldiers as she seeks the doctor. After delivering the baby herself she is rescued by Rhett and in one of the most legendary scenes of the cinema, they drive through the burning city of Atlanta.

The war ends, Ashley returns, Scarlett schemes and deals to bring prosperity back to her beloved Tara, eventually marries Rhett, yet he never truly masters her.

I’ve always thought a good lashing with a buggy whip would benefit you immensely.

They separate, their daughter dies, Melanie dies and Ashley make plain he never loved Scarlet. Scarlet tries to win back Rhett but…

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

The film should have ended here but in fact closes on an optimistic note. Scarlet returns to Tara.

I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!

So, in a sunset glow as corny as any you’ll ever see in any movie, we goodbye to the outrageous Scarlet O’Hara. Selznick has delivered a masterpiece of melodrama on an epic scale and justified his enormous budget. No film before or since has put so many bums on so many seats in so many cinemas. Best Picture 1939? You bet.

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Madame duBarry(1741-1793)
Illegitimate daughter of a cook she became the favorite mistress of Louis XV, who declared that she was the only woman who made him forget he was 70-something.
As a young girl she was put in a high class brothel where she was bewildered by exaggerated affections and mannerisms of her colleagues. She felt out of place and lost which her mother tried to comfort thus, ”Don’t worry, men tire of always eating capons and delicate fruit; a good cabbage now and then delights them.”

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In one letter home Lord Cornwallis answering a suggestion that he employ a friend wrote curtly,”Here my lord, we are in the habit of looking for the man for the place and not for the place for the man.”
One of the biggest headaches of Lord Melbourne,(1779-1848) the Whig prime minister was the various requests made by great and small for more honours and titles. At one time losing his temper at a notably half-witted Scottish peer who clamoured for more honours he remarked,”Give him the Thistle! Why he’d eat it!”

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A Hollywood story

Billy Wilder, a great Hollywood director, decided to make a film about the thing he knew best – Hollywood. In Sunset Boulevard he made a film that echoes Hollywood obsession with its own past. Extreme vanity, madness, obsession and murder are all given space here in this tale of a faded silent film star in her twilight years and the younger man whose cynicism is swept aside by her overpowering fantasies.

Cops, with sirens blaring, rush to a mansion on Sunset Boulevard. In the swimming pool floats the corpse of a man, face down. A cynical male voice-over:

You’ll get it over your radio and see it on television because an old-time star is involved – one of the biggest. But before you hear it all distorted and blown out of proportion, before those Hollywood columnists get their hands on it, maybe you’d like to hear the facts, the whole truth. If so, you’ve come to the right party. You see, the body of a young man was found floating in the pool of her mansion – with two shots in his back and one in his stomach. Nobody important, really. Just a movie writer with a couple of ‘B’ pictures to his credit. The poor dope! He always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool…

He is Joe Gillis (William Holden), a hard-up screenwriter with debts to pay (“Waiting, waiting for the gravy train.”). We’re in flash back. Joe has peddling the script that could save him from his creditors, without success. He spots the guys who are out to repossess his car and he evades them at speed. When he gets a flat, he pulls into the driveway of a run-down mansion in Beverly Hills. In a commanding voice, a woman calls him into the dilapidated old house. The butler ushers him upstairs into the presence of a lady of a certain age (Gloria Swanson), wearing a leopard skin headscarf.

Joe: You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
Norma: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.

Norma lectures Joe on the sorry state of the movie biz and then Joe inveigles himself into a job. He is to script her comeback vehicle, an update version of Salome. Joe needs the money and accepts, even though he realizes nothing will come of the movie. The only catch is that he must stay with her while he writes. So he becomes a prisoner of this sad old has-been and her stern butler/chauffeur, Max (Erich von Stroheim), a once great director reduced to domestic service.

She is still in a warp and on the giddy heights of a lost career – plain crazy when it came to that one subject: her celluloid self.
Wilder built on the self-reference that permeates the film by incorporating clips of Swanson’s performance in the unfinished Queen Kelly, directed by von Stroheim, as the work of Norma Desmond. Unlike Desmond, Swanson did not become a twisted neurotic, although she gives a convincing portrayal of mental instability. Her performance as Desmond stunned critics and public alike.

Billy Wilder fell out with Charles Brackett, his producer and collaborator on the Oscar-winning screenplay. They never worked together again. Brackett had wanted a light comedy but Wilder took the film to a darker place. He got Sunset Boulevard to work as black comedy, film noir, melodrama and satire. He made many great movies, perhaps, most famously, Some Like it Hot, but Sunset Boulevard is the pinnacle of his output.

Director:Billy Wilder

Joe Gillis: William Holden
Norma Desmond: Gloria Swanson
Max Von Mayerling: Erich von Stroheim
Betty Schaefer: Nancy Olson
Artie Green: Jack Webb
Himself: Cecil B. DeMille
Herself: Hedda Hopper
Himself: Buster Keaton
Himself: H.B. Warner
Herself: Anna Q. Nilsson

110 minutes
Academy Awards

Won (3)

* Best Art Direction
* Best Score (Drama or Comedy)
* Best Story and Screenplay – Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, D.M. Marshman Jr.

National Film Registry, Library of Congress Selected as one of 25 landmark films, leading examples of American cinematic art.

Although Norma Desmond never gets her come-back, Sunset Boulevard was a spectacular return for Gloria Swanson, who gives an outstanding performance.

You see, this is my life. It always will be! There’s nothing else – just us – and the cameras – and those wonderful people out there in the dark.
All right, Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.

In the 1920s, Swanson really had been an immensely popular star of the silent screen and reportedly the mistress of Joseph Kennedy. Similarly, Erich von Stroheim, who really had been a great director, is cast as a once great director. As ever his acting is riveting.

Giants of the movie industry appear in cameo roles: Buster Keaton and H.B. Warner are in Norma’s bridge group. Director Cecil B. deMille, columnist Hedda Hopper and others all appear as themselves.

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Benjamin Disraeli(1804-1881)

In 1831 Disraeli during his visit to Cairo met Mahmet Ali who after a career of corruption and bloodshed made himself a Pasha of Cairo and master of Egypt. He was toying with the idea of parliamentary government asked Disraeli for his comments. The visitor mentioned a few difficulties in the way of Egyptian democracy as he saw it. Mahmet was silent and thoughtful but at the next levee he gave Disraeli the benefit of his meditations.”God is great,”he began,”you are a wise man. Allah Kerim!”and he spoke of having as many parliaments as the King of England himself. “See here,”he showed two lists of names,”here are my parliaments. But I have made up my mind to prevent inconvenience, to elect them myself.”

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Fruits Must Still be Plucked ©

Girls of all ages and places
Cased in calico or edged with laces,
Laved with scents and rouged
Or plain; plucked or waxed
With a breathing skin in hose
Or bare, I know your type;
Being a girl doesn’t need hype
Anymore than time to grow:
Buds are fine but stuck to its bough
Let your flowers be in crimson
Or in lavender blaze forth.
Girls of all ages and places
Are meant for boys of all ages
And places; I know our type.
With time hanging still
Or in whirligig airborne
Boys and girls are paired still
Happily or unhappily-
Fruits must still be plucked.

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