Monday, August 31, 2009


queen crawford in a very beautiful portrait, looking softer than i have ever seen.

ruth chatterton

a truly unique screen presence. ruth exuded classiness no matter what role she played. with her very interesting way of enunciating her words and her gorgeous costumes, she charms. 25 films, three husbands (including the darling actor george brent), and upon leaving show business she became not only a novelist but also an aviator. what a gal.

top ten film

'dodsworth' starring walter huston and ruth chatterton.

the huston saga

many generations of the huston family grace the world of cinema. grandpa walter, father john, daughter anjelica. acting siblings, spouses and sweethearts abound. what a gang! filmmakers, writers, painters, actors.... a true dynasty.

photos: walter and son john/john smoking at what? seven??/anjelica

Sunday, August 30, 2009

forever young

what a lovely map

arrondissements of paris, france


had the film 'last tango in paris' been conceived a very long time ago it may have looked like this....

forever relevant

this masterwork of russian literature was first published in 12 monthly installments in 'the russian messenger' in 1866.

art imitates literature

i do not know if pablo picasso read 'crime and punishment' but why wouldn't he? this portrait of jaime sabartes reminds me so much of the protagonist of dostoevsky's novel. the character of 'raskolnikov' is destitute, anguished, terrified, and murderous. yet, when one first becomes acquainted with him one surely senses his appeal. a great author? oh yes, but somehow it is clear that even a person so deranged as this can still be brought to truth and light.

image: jaime sabartes, 1901. jaime was picasso's long time private secretary. between them they contributed over 1500 works of picasso's art to the museum in barcelona.


peter lorre wore the shabby coat of criminal 'raskolnikov' like a glove. this very hard to come by film (not on us dvd yet) is really a masterpiece. as i am re-reading the novel now i keep seeing little lorre's face on every page. he was so incredible in the movie.

trust me

i cannot rave enough about the 2008 bbc adaptation of charles dickens' 'little dorrit.'

photos: london/matthew macfadyen/claire foy and tom courtenay

l' homme musique

beloved serge

men and women

'manon 70' is my favorite film in the recent catherine deneuve set. terrible title aside, this 1968 film was really joyful. her co-star sami frey is a peach and they are great together. here are some snaps from a charming/enlightening scene where infidelity is discussed while sharing a 'bain a deux.'

Saturday, August 29, 2009

tiny and triumphant

5 feet tall with a career that spanned 70 years. helen hayes (1900-1993) has graced everything from the stage, silents, talkies, to hitchcock presents. her performances are all kinds of wonderful.

spiritual connection

singer patti smith and actress anna wiazemsky both look like they could have modeled for modigliani.

photos: patti lee photographed by robert mapplethorpe/anna in a scene from pasolini's 'teorema'

amedeo modigliani 1884-1920

i adore this painter. sweetness and sorrow are so well captured in his work. in 1906 he moved from his native italy to paris. within a very short time his appearance changed from well dressed to vagabond. illness may have led to drugs and some believe that his work suffered from his lifestyle. will shall never know.

anna bilinska 1857-1893

this extraordinary painter grew up in the ukraine. she studied in russia, warsaw, and paris. in 1889 she received the gold medal at the paris exposition universelle. i now plan to visit warsaw to see her work!
there has not been a film about her though she must have known many great artists and may even have sat for modigliani.

Friday, August 28, 2009


i like the 'newspaperman/heiress' plot line. it is always fun. the guy is out for a good story, the rich gal is out for more than her spoiled life offers. these films are usually comedies and star really great people. the 1934 hit 'it happened one night' had claudette colbert (of the cheekbones and huge eyes) and clark gable (of the manly smirk) team up and it landed an oscar right on claudette's mantle. i have seen lots of great 'side of the road' scenes in movies. the very notion of being at the mercy of strangers is suspenseful.

photos: very different circumstances.... stunning oil painting by hubert von herkomer/the racy 'leg' scene from 'it happened one night'

Thursday, August 27, 2009

little birds

i am crazy about sparrows. around here we call them 'sprovians.' in paris one see's people taking photos of statues and each other. we like to stroll through the tuilleries and take snaps of these tiny birds. they are so delightfully unfancy!
french singer, edith piaf, was nicknamed 'little sparrow.' thanks to the heartbreakingly great film 'la vie en rose' many people are now familiar with the wonderful edith.

photos: sparrow/edith piaf/sparrow's nest by elena ray

a queen

what a great actress helen mirren is.

a very special day

does god have a girlfriend? today is the birthday of radharani. this celestial being is known as the greatest of all krsna's associates. it is said, if you wish for god's mercy, appeal to radha. indian culture is truly a spiritual jewel from which one can discover true ways to live.

i introduce to you....

several years ago i joined the several million people who cherish the shah rukh khan movie experience. he is the greatest mega star of india and it is a joy to watch him act and dance his way through great stories full of love, familial duty, and devotion. no one but elvis smiles like this man.

handsome guy

yul brynner. pre 'the king and i'

the past

i love how evocative and simple credits used to be.

alphonse bedoya

before playing the unforgettable role as the bandit in 'the treasure of the sierra madre' who spoke the words,' i don't need to show you no stinking badges', actor alphonse had made 100 mexican films. he grew up in a sonoran village and was the youngest of 20 children. incredible fortune fell to this man who it seems was not too different from the character he played in the film.

there is a point in the story when the gold obsessed and thirsty bogart plops down to put his lips to a muddy stream only to see alphonse reflected in the dirty water. it is one of the most deeply satisfying moments in cinema.

tampico blues

filmmaker john huston seems like a real wonderful guy. in some ways. great movies grew from his visionary mind and even his ex-wives speak fondly of the man. humphrey bogart was his pal and sort of an alter ego. they clashed but also knew they did their best work together.
bogart's role as the dirty, tired, broke american on mexican soil is one of his most iconic. 1948's 'the treasure of the sierra madre' is a fantastic piece of art and huston's papa walter might have stolen the whole drama if his co-stars weren't so excellent. sweetly, as he died two years later, he did win the oscar.
this sweeping desert-a-rama will have us saying, 'on no' many times with each viewing. as i have come to understand, without the 'on no's' there would be tons less of a story to tell. greed, betrayal, death, resurrection.... 'treasure' remains absolutely satisfying.

photo: humphrey bogart/walter huston/tim holt

tyrone and linda revisited

adorable together


oil painting (bxw photo) by pal shazar/marlon brando and eva marie saint from 'on the waterfront'