Thursday, March 31, 2011

little french girl

(with apologies to e.e. cummings.)

i want to write

a sentence (not
quite a poem) for
you Marie


a flurry a flash of dark
eyes and hair and

everybody's best friend
the bridesmaid (but never the


your self your self your perfect self
cuddly and cute
forced to change it (sadness)
and so you did

they put you on a rollercoaster
without a safety belt
and were shocked when



Friday, March 18, 2011

You can help Japan over on Silent Stanzas

This week's poem over on Silent Stanzas is part of the Japanese Cinema Blogathon, hosted by JapanCinema and CinemaFanatic, to aid the victims of the recent devastation in Japan. 

Silent Stanzas: Sessue Hayakawa

If you would like to donate, you can either click the link at the end of the post, or the one I'm posting here.  They need every bit of our help.  Thank you. 

A Tanka for Sessue, and how you can help Japan

This week's poem is part of the Japanese Cinema Blogathon, hosted by JapanCinema and CinemaFanatic, to aid the victims of the recent devastation in Japan.  Please click the banner at the end of the post to donate.  They desperately need our help. 

Fate was a shed door,
and a slow-moving steamship;
you built your life to
the sound of two hands clapping.
Your brand is on film, always.

Sessue Hayakawa was film's first Asian "movie star".  He was born in Japan and returned there after his retirement in the 1960s, becoming a Zen priest.

Sessue Hayakawa

To help in the relief effort, please click below.  Thank you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920)

"You come here often?"

I'd heard good things about this picture for awhile now.  You already know the story:  Dr Jekyll invents a potion that enables man to be split into two separate entities, one wholly good, one entirely evil.  Combine that with John Barrymore (and you all know what a fan of Jack I am), and, well...I was a little disappointed that I didn't enjoy the picture more than I did!  I found it stagy and stilted, even (dare I say it?) boring in some places.  There were, however, two bright spots: the famous Barrymore transformation scene(s), and Nita Naldi, as the dancer in whom the terrible Hyde indulges his lust.

Many people have written about the moment Dr Jekyll becomes Mr Hyde, and with good reason; when Jack takes the potion, without any help from special effects, he becomes another person.  He thrashes, he tears at his clothes and hair, and a sinister aspect settles over him like a cloak, right in front of your eyes.  In this age of CGI, it's nothing short of miraculous, and fascinating to watch.  (His transformation back to Jekyll is no less amazing, even with the small blooper of a prosthetic finger flying off.)

Nita Naldi, as Gina the Italian dancer, is not beautiful - not in the typical way of her time - but there is a sensuality about her; an earthiness that is very attractive, more so than the squeaky-clean and incredibly dull Millicent Carew (Martha Mansfield).  Naldi is seductive.  Her eyes hold carnal promises.  It's not difficult to see how Jekyll was aroused by her, how Hyde desired her (and Barrymore, for that matter).

There are moments of tension and excitement, and the rest of the cast plays amicably, but for the most part, excepting the aforementioned bright spots, it was mediocre for me.

I give this one: 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Harlean!

Today is Jean Harlow's 100th birthday, and I'm taking a moment to plug my contribution to The Jean Harlow Blogathon!  You can read my entry over on Silent Stanzas:

When you're done, go hop by The Kitty Packard Pictorial and read all the other terrific classic blogs participating.  There are some fabulous posts there - and more coming, so check back often!

For Harlean

Today is Jean Harlow's 100th birthday!  Usually I write about silent film stars, but being that Jean is one of my favorite actresses, I couldn't let this special day go by without a tribute.  Besides, she did get her start in silents, her first role being a bit part in Richard Dix's Moran of the Marines (1928).  Happy Birthday Baby!

a century ago,
the sun smiled on a little patch of Missouri
and a legend was born.

a child of dreams and diamond dust,
a white hot chameleon
adapting to everything but never quite finding home.

Aphrodite chased by Persephone's shadow,
hothouse flower destined to fade,
i hope that on your special day

heaven picks out a star for you
as big and bright as you deserve.
(i don't think bill would mind.)

Jean Harlow

Come join the party!  See how other classic film blogs are celebrating The Baby's 100th  - The Kitty Packard Pictorial has a list of everyone participating in The Jean Harlow Blogathon!