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  • mistermuse 9:46 am on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Casablanca, consolation, , , , , problems,   

    A CONSOLATION OF STARS 

    What with all the problems in this crazy world of ours, my fellow earthlings, is there consolation in knowing that my previously-posted problems don’t amount to a proverbial hill of beans by comparison? After all, everyone in Casablanca has problems — mine may work out:

    In fact, I think mine¬†will work out — help is on the way (by beautiful way of my tech-angel daughter) on Father’s Day. But until then, I’ll seek my consolation in the Stardust of a song (or two):

    If we could clear the dust from our eyes, friends, aren’t we all more or less lost in the stars? Maybe most of us just don’t see it: little stars, BIG STARS, blowing through the night….and we’re lost out here in the stars….

     

     
    • Carmen 10:02 am on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Just wanted to add that I think you’re a ROCK star!! I’m looking after six of the grandchildren right now – I’ll get to hear the selections later, when I can relax and appreciate them! ūüôā

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 11:28 am on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      And you’re obviously a rock star of a grandma, Carmen….but looking after only six grandchildfren? Unless your children are hiding some, tell them to get back to work. Haven’t they heard that they’re….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Ostertag 1:31 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Great selections!

      Liked by 1 person

      • waywardsparkles 3:47 pm on June 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Okay, I’m not used to this format, but here goes nutin’! Love Louis but I’ve never seen Casablanca. I KNOW!!! Myrna Loy is one of my all time favs, though, and I love Cheaper by the Dozen, both the book and the movie. It seems like there was a second book, too, maybe? Or am I remembering wrong? Anyway, in life, it’s all about the systems you have in place to deal with whatever you have to deal with. And a lot of luck! ūüôā Mona

        Liked by 3 people

        • mistermuse 7:01 pm on June 5, 2020 Permalink

          Thanks for the comment. I’m not used to a lot of formats, so welcome to the club!
          Never seen Casablanca? You are indeed wayward! ūüėČ
          As for Cheaper By The Dozen, I don’t know if there was a second book, but there was a sequel to the movie two years later called Belles On Their Toes. I think I saw it decades ago, but I don’t remember it, so either it’s not very memorable or I’m losing my memory.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 2:05 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Casablanca and Satchmo. It doesn’t get much better than that!

      Like

      • mistermuse 2:58 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Unsurpassed performances, an unsurpassed film, and unsurpassed music = “it doesn’t get much better than that.” ūüėČ

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rosaliene Bacchus 2:37 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      So glad that your beautiful tech-angel daughter is helping you to resolve your problems with WordPress ūüôā Enjoyed the Casablanca video clip.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:27 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Rosaliene. That clip is a classic example of why Casablanca is one of the greatest films of all time: exquisite Dialogue, fine Acting, and superb Direction: a DAD for the ages — not unlike mistermuse, who is a well(?) aged dad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:29 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink

          I can’t believe it — all of a sudden, “Loading” has mysteriously disappeared and “Likes” have reappeared since the last time I was here a few hours ago. It’s a miracle (and I wasn’t even praying to the computer gods for one)!

          Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 7:46 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      aha souds like you two might be each others biggest fans!

      First two clips were supremo, third one didn’t work … a dozen, his poor wife!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:18 pm on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Kate, Carmen and I are not only each other’s biggest, but each other’s oldest, fans — would you believe we go back to the days when she sang and danced with fruit on her head:

      Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 7:58 am on June 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      My favorite version of Stardust…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:13 am on June 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Likewise. Louis was at the top of his game in 1931 when he recorded Stardust.

      Liked by 1 person

      • masercot 8:18 am on June 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        That’s about the time he recorded I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You, right?

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 8:28 am on June 5, 2020 Permalink

          Right. He also recorded Rascal again in 1941, by which time he was past his peak (as a trumpeter, not as an entertainer).

          Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 1:53 pm on June 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve visited Rick’s Place many times over the years but never tire of it. This time, the emphasis on kindness TO strangers seemed most appropriate.
      And the great Satchmo: immediately following Stardust was his rendition of We Shall Overcome. I was overcome by it.
      Then Lotte Lenya singing of the stars in all their manifestations reminded me of the peaceful demonstrators. All told, this was a meaningful and emotional journey.

      Thank you, mistermuse!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:45 pm on June 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I anticipate doing a follow-up to this post in a few days, Annie….provided I can overcome some issues I’m having with my outdated browser before my techie daughter comes to my rescue on Father’s Day. The follow-up will probably be my last post until after Father’s Day, as it’s too time-consuming and too much of a hassle trying to work around the problems.

      Meanwhile, I’m glad this post (and hopefully the next one) were, and will be, to your liking. ūüėČ

      Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 12:22 am on June 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Happy Fathers Day; enjoy your well-earned break. I hope you’ll visit my blog again soon, mistermuse. Haven’t been doing much punning and rhyming of late, but I do have a little political acrostic posted today. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 3:57 am on June 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I so enjoyed that excerpt from Casablanca. A little escapism on a Sunday morning. Thank you! ūüôā ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:11 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love, LOVE the way you began this post. Brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:25 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, SS (I would also have accepted semi-brilliant, luminous, superb, or ingenious). ūüėČ

      Like

  • mistermuse 1:54 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Casablanca, , , , , , ,   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: MORE “BAD” ACTORS 

    In my previous post dealing with “bad” actors, we looked to the stars before turning to the character actors….but Hollywood’s Golden Age produced so many great bad character actors that only ONE such showing would be an injustice. So, before making my getaway from these characters, I’ll need to do more than one more post.

    Let’s begin this post with a name mentioned in my last post, PETER LORRE. Here he is, along with two accomplices, committing an act so unconstrained, it’s almost unbelievable:

    OK, that wasn’t exactly the typical Lorre performance you expected. But if you’ve seen CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON (and what classic movie fan hasn’t?), you’ve seen the classic Peter Lorre. So let’s put a wrap on that bird with this:

    Next, we turn to Lorre’s frequent “partner in crime” movies, SYDNEY GREENSTREET:

    We close this segment with a name you may not remember, but who could forget that character:

    TO BE CONTINUED….

     

     

     
    • moorezart 2:23 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rivergirl 3:33 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Love it!
      Casablanca is one of my all time favorites. Did you know Ronald Reagan was originally slated to play Rick? I can’t even wrap my mind around that.

      Liked by 5 people

      • mistermuse 4:47 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I vaguely recall that about Ronald Reagan. The only worse casting I can imagine would be Donald Trump to play Abraham Lincoln.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Elizabeth 5:13 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t remember if I have already shared this. Every exam period the movie theater in Cambridge had a Bogart film festival. So I saw all of those films several times over. I loved Greenstreet and Lorre too. Of course I always imagined it was me that Bogie was looking at.

      Liked by 3 people

    • calmkate 5:44 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      With all these men their expressive eyes are the winners!
      Thanks for expanding my knowledge ūüôā

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:41 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Kate, you might say “The eyes have it with these guys? (as opposed to Trump, who tries to pull the wool over our eyes).

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 6:43 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink

          he can only do that with absolute morons, any one with brains can see the psychopath for what he is …

          Liked by 3 people

    • Carmen 7:38 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Well, that was a great blast from the past!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:10 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Carmen. On that note of tribute, I’ll share with you a bit of trivia which I’m not sharing with anyone else: the first clip’s “Sweet Siberia” song (and entire score of SILK STOCKINGS) was composed by none other than Cole Porter. I’m only telling you that because I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU.

        Like

        • Carmen 8:59 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink

          I‚Äôll consider that my birthday present. . . And yes, it‚Äôs sweet 62! ūüôā

          Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:21 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Been there, done that. But Happy Birthday anyway, Carmen, despite the envy you make me feel!

      Like

    • davidbruceblog 9:28 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on davidbruceblog #2.

      Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 6:58 am on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved Lorre in the Mr. Moto movies. I’m interested in “yellow-face” in old movies. There are bad cases of it, such as the Charlie Chan series; however, Lorre and Karloff portrayed Asian detectives in a very straightforward way. Lorre’s Moto was a nice mix of ethics and ruthlessness. He was essentially Raymond Reddington on The Blacklist…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:08 pm on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t see much of Mr.Moto when I was young, probably because the Charlie Chan series was on TV frequently and I became a big Chan fan (as I got older, not so much). My favorite in the “sleuth” genre was Sherlock Holmes, played so well by Basil Rathbone. I think some of the Homes films still hold up fairly well today.

        Like

    • smbabbitt 1:18 pm on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Cook appeared in some marvelous films, and outlived most of the actors whose roles required them to insult or torment him. And deserves to be especially remembered for the memorable drumming scene in PHANTOM LADY.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:03 pm on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Some actors’ character portrayals are so one-of-a-kind that you never forget them. Cook was certainly one such actor. Here’s the scene you mentioned (actual drumming dubbed by jazz drummer Dave Coleman):

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:06 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Casablanca, , , gangster films, , , , Little Caesar, , The Public Enemy, The Roaring Twenties, Yankee Doodle Dandy   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: THE “BAD” ACTORS 

    “The gangster film has always been one of the staples of the American cinema. Though the record shows that there were several motion pictures with a gangster theme as far back as the silent era, the genre did not really begin to flourish as a popular form until the thirties. Depression-era audiences responded strongly to all the action, violence and romance that these films contained, and were more than willing to get caught up in the colorful on-screen exploits of Edward G. Robinson,, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. In a sense, the movie gangster, with the rebellious breaking of society’s rules and regulations, and his aggressive drive to “get somewhere” regardless of consequences, became something of a hero to filmgoers of the period.”
    “Robinson, Cagney and Bogart are, even today, the three actors most associated with films of this type, which isn’t surprising, since all three achieved their initial fame in a Warner Brothers [the king-of-the-hill gangster film studio] crime drama.”

    –Robert Bookbinder, author of CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    There were a lot of “bad actors” in Hollywood in those days. Robinson, Cagney and Bogart weren’t the only famous names to have become famous names playing bad guys in 1930s gangster films, but most (e.g. Peter Lorre) remained typecast as character actors. We will take a look at the “bad¬†character actors” in our next post; this post will look to the stars.

    Quoting further from Robert Bookbinder’s excellent book¬†CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS, “Little Caesar [1931] was the first of the great gangster films. It made a star of Edward G. Robinson, who had been working in films since 1923, and it laid the groundwork for all the fine Warner Brothers gangster movies that followed.” Here’s a clip from the film:

    How tough was Edward G. Robinson? Tough enough to get Doris Day and Jack Carson out of a pickle:

    Just as Little Caesar made a star of Robinson, Warner Brothers’ second gangster film (later the same year), The Public Enemy, made a star of James Cagney. In this scene, after Cagney’s friend is shot to death by a gang, he vows revenge and arms himself with two 38s:

    By 1942, Cagney had made a clean break from the “gangs” — here he is in scenes from his Oscar-winning performance as showman George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy:

    As for Humphrey Bogart, he was the last of the three to attain stardom after years of supporting roles in gangster films. In The Roaring Twenties (1939), he is third-billed (Cagney stars):

    All three, as we know, went on to bigger (if not badder) things in such films as Double Indemnity (Robinson), Mister Roberts (Cagney), and, of course, Casablanca (Bogart), among many other memorable performances. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

     

     
    • calmkate 5:30 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      violence and crime … not a good mix! But thanks for the trip down memory lane ūüėé
      John Wayne is the same in every movie … these three could act ūüôā

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rivergirl 7:55 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Growing up I had a life size Bogie poster on my bedroom door. My Godfather grew up and was childhood friends with Jimmy Cagney. Wish he had lived long enough to tell me some stories…
      And did you know tough Edward G was actually an art connoisseur? He amassed an amazing collection in his lifetime recognizing talent before anyone else.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:59 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for that fascinating comment, Rg. I’m guessing your Bogie poster was from a scene in one of his most famous films, like CASABLANCA, MALTESE FALCON, or AFRICAN QUEEN.

        I too would’ve loved to hear your Godfather tell some Cagney stories. As for Edward G., I’ve read his extremely interesting autobiography titled ALL MY YESTERDAYS, so I did know about his art collection. Despite this tough guy image, he was actually “a man of wit, of dignity, and of great sensitivity” (so described by movie producer Hal Wallis, who knew Robinson well).

        Liked by 2 people

        • Rivergirl 10:54 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink

          Not sure what movie the poster was from. Trench coat, slouched hat, cigarette. Could have been any of them.
          My godfather grew up in a tough section of NYC, I bet the stories were colorful.
          And yes Edward G was the antithesis of his rough and tumble characters. Odd, that.

          Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 10:32 am on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      With Bogart as with Lorre, you always felt a little menace from them, even when they were playing benign roles…

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 3:08 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Always with Bogart, ALMOST always with Lorre — my (tongue-in-cheek) exception is the first clip in my new post today.

        Liked by 1 person

    • literaryeyes 8:31 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved Peter Lorre. Even when he was at his baddest I couldn’t help chuckling. Great actors who didn’t mind chewing up the scenery. The molls were good too, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:16 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Lorre has long been a favorite of mine too, Mary. You may not know that he was a “song and dance man” in one of his last films — check out the SWEET SIBERIA clip in my new post today!

        Liked by 1 person

    • davidbruceblog 9:34 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on davidbruceblog #2.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Silver Screenings 11:53 pm on November 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      James Cagney as gangster can be chilling, especially in “White Heat”, which is one of my fave Cagney performances.

      Yup, I’d say these three are the trifecta of bad guys. Talented actors, all.

      Didn’t Edward G. Robinson once say (and I’m paraphrasing): “Some actors have talent, some have good looks, and I have menace.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:43 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure about the Robinson quote — he may have said it, but I don’t remember it. He did indeed have menace, but not in all of his films – including one of my favs, DOUBLE INDEMNITY. He could also play menace for laughs, such as in the very funny LARCENY, INC.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Silver Screenings 10:31 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          I love his performance in Larceny, Inc. And his meek clerk in The Whole Town’s Talking, where he plays dual roles.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 1:44 pm on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          Thanks for mentioning The Whole Town’s Talking – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it.
          Have you read Robinson’s autobiography, ALL MY YESTERDAYS? I’m sure you would enjoy it.

          Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Billy Gilbert, Casablanca, , , Grady Sutton, Hattie McDaniel, , , , , , , , ,   

    A PAST OF CHARACTERS 

    For some time, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to do a post on one-of-a-kind¬†character actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age, most of them long forgotten except to old¬†film buffs like myself. There are¬†familiar¬†exceptions, of course —¬†non-starring actors who appeared in classic films which continue to be shown today, such as Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West in THE WIZARD OF OZ) and Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet (Ugarte/Joel Cairo and the fat man, respectively,¬†in CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON). But today I want to focus on the rule, not the well-remembered¬†exceptions.

    It was while researching April 5th birthdays for notables born on this date (and finding the likes of Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis and Gregory Peck) that I¬†saw among them¬†a long forgotten character actor whose name¬†(Grady Sutton, born 4/5/1906)¬†rang a bell….so I¬†decided to¬†do such a post today and include him among those I pay tribute to. To make it a bit (player) more interesting, I’ll list six names, followed by¬†clips (not¬†in the same order)¬†of scenes in which they separately appear. Can you¬†spot one of the six¬†in each¬†clip?

    1. Eric Blore
    2. Margaret Dumont
    3. James Finlayson
    4. Billy Gilbert
    5. Hattie McDaniel
    6. Grady Sutton

    a. 

    b.

    c.

    d.

    e.

    f.

    How many could you identify? Hint: the names match the clips in reverse order; e.g.,
    1. Eric Blore¬†is the British valet being “summoned” in “f.” For more on Blore, click here:
    Eric Blore: What a Character!

    2. Margaret Dumont (clip “e”)¬†should pose no recognition¬†problem for Marx Brothers fans. For those who aren’t Marxists, mark this: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0241669/bio

    3. James Finlayson (clip “d”) should pose no recognition problem for Laurel & Hardy fans. When you can’t imagine any other actor in his L & H¬†roles, you know he was¬†truly unique: http://www.wayoutwest.org/finlayson/

    4. Billy Gilbert is the man (Pettibone) in the middle in this¬†clip (“c”) from HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940). Like Finlayson and Dumont, another one-of-a-kinder: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0317970/

    5. Hattie McDaniel (clip “b”)¬†plays Aunt Tempy¬†and sings “Sooner or Later” opposite James Baskett (as Uncle Remus) in this scene from Walt Disney’s¬†SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946). Best known role: Mammy, in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939): http://www.biography.com/people/hattie-mcdaniel-38433

    6. Grady Sutton (clip “a”) plays new assistant (Chester) to W.C. Fields in this scene from YOU CAN’T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN (1939). He was also a Fields foil in¬†MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE (1935) and THE BANK DICK (1940).

    Yes, my friends, there were great character actors¬†in the land of make-believe¬†in those days. If¬†some were but¬†“bit” players, they¬†made their small parts singularly indispensable. We shall not see their like again.

     
    • Don Frankel 7:39 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know I was thinking Hattie McDaniel is well known. I mean she has an Academy Award and she had her own TV show… and then I realized, no I’m just old enough to remember. But these are those great actors that would pop up in all those old movies and they were very believable in all their roles.

      There’s another actor in the Billy Gilbert clip and wasn’t he the Judge in Miracle on 34th Street?

      Like

      • mistermuse 9:43 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Don, you’re right about the Judge in Miracle on 34th Street being the same actor (Gene Lockhart) as the sheriff (the man with no hat) in the Billy Gilbert clip. Lockhart appeared in many films and was interesting in his own right, but Gilbert and the other guy in that clip (Clarence Kolb) steal the scene. Their fast-paced exchange, especially in the last 20 seconds or so of the clip, is hilarious.

        Like

    • arekhill1 9:22 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll just take my “F,” please.

      Like

      • mistermuse 10:00 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        In my classroom, you get an “A” just for showing up (or, if you prefer, an “a” for “arekhill1”). You also deserve an “A” for Attendance (as in perfect attendance).

        Like

    • M√©l@nie 1:53 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      wonderful and emotional tribute to those non-starring actors of several classic films(“films-culte in French!) – we call them “personnages secondaires”(secondary roles)… they play small parts, but most of the times they’re great actors who have contributed to the success of the film…

      • * *

      I’ve seen all these movies, but I must have watched “Casablanca” 4-5 times, and I’ve never been tired of it!!! ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:12 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        For those of us who either grew up with, or later came to appreciate, those old movies and the essential part the non-starring actors played in them, we know the part they have played in making our lives richer. Vive le Casablanca and all the rest! ūüôā

        Like

    • linnetmoss 6:36 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I love Erik Blore, whom I know from the Astaire-Rogers films. Another brilliant comic actor along these lines is Erik Rhodes (“Your wife is safe with Tonetti! He prefer spaghetti!”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:21 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Coincidentally, I was going to include Erik Rhodes in my “cast of characters,” but decided to limit the number to six in order to keep the post to a reasonable (however arbitrary that may be) length. Rhodes was absolutely wonderful in that role, and I well remember the lines you quote!

      Like

    • RMW 11:33 pm on April 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “Character” actors make a very good living without all the hassles of being “stars.” If I had another life to live that is one of the careers I think would be very satisfying to me. Would not want to be a “star” for any amount of money.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:41 am on April 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree. A few of the stars in the old days (like Greta Garbo) sought to be virtual recluses outside the studios, but I’m sure even trying to avoid the spotlight was a hassle.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Casablanca, Dorothy Lamour, February 29, Hannibal Missouri, , , , Karen Carpenter, Leap Day birthdays, Leap Year, , , , ,   

    OF LOVERS AND LEAPERS 

    On¬†Leap Day (Feb. 29), according to an¬†ancient Irish custom,¬†a woman¬†is permitted to propose to a man, who must accept, or pay a penalty. Thus,¬†being of part-Irish descent,¬†my thoughts this day¬†turn — or should I say, leap—¬†to love. Ah, L’AMOUR! Ah,¬†LAMOUR (Dorothy Lamour, that is — she¬†of¬†silver screen¬†memory and¬†part-Irish descent). Sure, and¬†I¬† still don’t know why she didn’t propose to¬†this dear boy¬†back in¬†those saronged “ROAD”¬†movie days, being¬†as close as the first row of the darkened¬†theater, and I¬†only 22 years younger than she.¬†When¬†love dreams¬†have gone so¬†cruelly unrequited, ’tis THE END OF THE WORLD —¬†one might just¬†as well¬†d(r)ive off¬†a suitable¬†cliff. For example:

    Click LOVE ROCKS

    Now, if I were a cynic, I¬†might postulate that the daring¬†young man in the flying¬†machine was under the influence of something more substance-tive than¬†love¬†that didn’t click. But this happened in the hallowed Hannibal of our beloved Mark Twain, who coincidentally wrote of a Lover’s Leap called Maiden’s Rock (named¬†for¬†a beautiful Sioux maiden)¬†in his book LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI….so let us¬†not jump to judgment.

    Maiden’s Rock and the Lover’s Leap in Hannibal are, of course, but¬†two of¬†many¬†such¬†sites in America and¬†beyond (including¬†one of¬†legendary leaps¬†from a rocky¬†waterfall¬†on the Glencree River,¬†County Wicklow,¬†Ireland). If¬†your love dreams are on the rocks and you’re thinking of taking the plunge, but don’t know where you’d make the biggest splash,

    look here BEFORE YOU LEAP

    On a happier note, Feb. 29 is a good day to be born because¬†your¬†birthday only comes around¬†every four years. That may put a serious crimp in the number of birthday presents you get, but¬†who wouldn’t exchange that shortfall for quadruple the longevity? I’ll admit I don’t personally¬†know anyone who’s lived to near¬†age 400,¬†probably because¬†such persons cheat and celebrate their non-leap year¬†birthdays on Feb.28 or March 1. Oh, well — who can blame¬†them for not wanting to depend on Depends for¬†the last 300 years of their lives?

    But I do¬†know¬†of some of the statistically 1 in 1461¬†people born on Feb. 29 — people like Jimmy Dorsey, the 1930s-40s¬†Big Band leader; Dinah Shore, the 1940s band vocalist and 1950s-60s TV &¬†recording star; and Mich√®le Morgan, a French actress who came to the U.S. when Germany invaded France in 1940, and returned after the war. Though little known outside France, she has the distinction of having played opposite Frank Sinatra in his first starring role in the film Higher and Higher (1943), and she almost landed the female lead in Casablanca opposite Humphrey Bogart, but RKO wouldn’t release her to Warner Bros. for the sum of money offered. She is still with us on this, her 96th birthday.

    Should we end where we started, leaving the¬†dashed¬†dreams¬†of¬†life and romance¬†on the precipice,¬†as lamented here¬†by Karen Carpenter (born March 2nd)? Don’t¬†they know it’s THE END OF THE WORLD?

    Or, should we get a grip, and tell February 29 to take a flying leap? Forward, March!

     

     
    • Midwestern Plant Girl 6:04 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Ah 2/29.
      It sure gets its fanfare!
      Happy leap day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 7:57 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Didn’t know about the Lover’s Leap in Co. Wicklow. They must be universal. Even Sappho talks about a Lover’s Leap…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:10 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      One would think Lover’s Leaps are universal, but I googled Lover’s Leaps in France during my research for this post, and came up empty. No doubt, my readers from the land of l’amour know more than Google, and can-can leap to fill in the gap.

      Like

    • ladysighs 8:43 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I love your posts and how you tie your words/thoughts together. You always give interesting and little know facts ( Mich√®le Morgan — for one) and end the presentation with ….. well The End. Karen Carpenter or course is sad. But she somehow made the sadness she sang about seem a little less sad.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:28 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I appreciate your comment (it’s always good to be appreciated). And what you say about Karen Carpenter is so true. Such a beautiful voice and such a young age to meet her maker. I recommend to those who aren’t familiar with the details of her life and death, to Google her name.

        Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 10:44 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Leap Day, to my mind, is the least of the February holidays, dwarfed by the immensely more significant Groundhog Day, which at least has the decency to come around every year. But thanks for the clip of “Don’t Say No,” which happens to be the first song I ever slow-danced to.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:47 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If nothing else, Groundhog Day is a helluva great movie, and Leap Day has yet to make a title appearance on film….an oversight which some creative director and writers should look into.

      Like

    • carmen 1:01 pm on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Wouldn’t you know it? There’s a Lover’s Leap very close to where I live! ūüôā Happy Leap Day to you, mistermuse!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:06 pm on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      And to you as well, Carmen. If I may make a suggestion, why don’t you write a post sometime about that nearby Lover’s Leap, complete with pix? No doubt there is a history there, and perhaps you could dig up a legend or story or two which I’m sure your readers (including me) would find interesting. ūüôā

      Like

      • carmen 4:33 pm on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Food for thought! ūüôā

        Liked by 1 person

        • Michaeline Montezinos 7:10 am on March 1, 2016 Permalink

          I don’t think Ground Hog Day is as significant a holiday as Valentine’s Day. I have not heard of a Lovers Leap yet here in Florida. Chances are if one would jump off a small hill he or she would land in the water. My Grandmother, Joanna Blajda, was born on February 29 but I don’t think she ever celebrated her birthday at all. She was one of many immigrants from Poland , probably because of the war. A no nonsense lady who treated her grandchildren with great care and much love..

          Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:16 am on March 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      How do you know when it’s a leap year? We elect President’s in leap years. Talk abut look before you leap.

      Like

      • mistermuse 9:39 am on March 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Excellent point, Don. I’d never thought about the fact that Presidential election years and Leap Years coincide (as if the campaign season wasn’t long enough without the extra day).

        Like

    • mistermuse 9:31 am on March 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Michaeline, there are molehills in my back yard higher than almost any promontories in Florida. I leveled one that would’ve caused instant death to any lovelorn mole contemplating a leap from its summit, and several others that would’ve resulted in crippling injuries. But do those moles appreciate my solicitude? No, they just keep making more mountains out of molehills like they’re in a competition to impress the objects of their affections by the size of their protuberances.

      I guess bigger is better, even among moles.

      Like

    • M√©l@nie 11:46 am on March 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      ah, l’amour… encore et toujours l’AMOUR!!! ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 3:06 pm on October 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: borders, Casablanca, , Greece, Hungary, illegals, migrants, refugee crisis, Strictly from hunger, , ,   

    STRICTLY, FROM HUNGARY 

    You must¬†remember this — the¬†opening scene (after¬†opening credits)¬†in CASABLANCA:

    I am reminded of that scene’s¬†“tortuous, roundabout refugee trail”¬†when seeing reports¬† of tens¬†of¬†thousands fleeing from¬†war-torn Syria, west¬†across the Mediterranean in¬†small boats to Greece, and thence overland hundreds of miles through¬†passageway countries to Germany and other destinations.¬†Some die in the attempt (recall¬†the picture-worth-a-thousand-words¬†of the lifeless¬†body of¬†a¬†3 year old boy washed up on a Turkish beach in early¬†September). Many “wait….and wait….and wait….and wait” in refugee camps. Many more¬†have been¬†kept from continuing on, stopped¬†on their way by¬†the far right government¬†of¬†Hungary, which has been particularly¬†strict in this regard.¬†If you thought “exit visas/letters of transit” were hard to come by in CASABLANCA….

    Perhaps you’ve¬†read some of the recent¬†series of articles in USA TODAY called TREK WITH MIGRANTS¬†in which journalist Kim Hjelmgaard follows “migrants on¬†their arduous 1,500 mile journey from Greece to Berlin” to witness¬†their challenges. Particularly illuminating was¬†Day 7 (CHECKING OUT WALL CURLING ACROSS HUNGARY)¬†of that series, from which I quote:

    I sat next to Robert [Kim’s guide] for most of Thursday as his car zigzagged around small-town Hungary in search of new additions to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s controversial barrier. The Hungarian leader has already erected a 15-foot-high rampart along the entire 110-mile border with Serbia. Now, he was starting work on a fence to close the 25-mile [border] with Croatia.
    On my way up here this week from Greece, I had been told by several people not to mess with Hungarian police. They are prone to violence, they said. Last week, several journalists said they were beaten and detained for speaking to refugees.¬†So it was Robert (and Naomi), or go straight to the Austrian border, and I didn’t want to do that. Naomi, his girlfriend, wasn’t in the car in the usual sense, but they were in frequent contact by phone, Facebook and text message.
    He told me that the “very beautiful” Naomi — she is 19; he is 23 — was studying to be a physical therapist, and she wanted to one day own a “big, big” house in Sweden and possess extremely expensive things.
    This wall in Hungary had been a flashpoint in the migrant crisis;
    I asked if he thought it was good for Hungary to be trying to seal its borders when so many people were intent on getting through anyway.
    Robert said he didn’t have an opinion either way. And so I asked about Naomi, what does she think, this policeman’s daughter? And of course Naomi had an opinion. I could hear that by the way her voice was spilling out over the edges of Robert’s cellphone. “She said she thinks the wall is a good¬†idea, and that she also understands why the people are leaving their countries,” Robert said.
    “And Sweden?” I asked. “Was there any contradiction in her wanting to go there for the ‘big, big’ house, and people wanting to come to Europe for a house?”
    He didn’t know. I didn’t either.

    There is, of course, more to the refugee crisis¬†than the one scene here. Still, one wonders, why¬†can’t Hungary¬†abide¬†terrorized¬†people passing through? Is Hungary worried that they’ll see how wonderful Hungary is and¬†change their minds about continuing on? Is Hungary concerned that¬†they’ll devour all¬†available food and leave the country¬†so Hungary that it will starve? Is Hungary afraid they’ll leave a¬†trail¬†of¬†drugs, crime,¬†and raped women in their wake?¬†If so, why doesn’t Hungary¬†say so?¬†When¬†it comes to¬†demonizing¬†illegals crossing borders, Hungary’s right wing counterparts in America have¬†no¬†such qualms¬†(and, unlike America,¬†Hungary’s “illegals” don’t¬†come to stay).

    This is¬†a¬†post¬†without a¬†happy ending….but before I close, you younger-than-I trivia buffs may be interested in¬†the origin/meaning of the¬†idiom on which the post’s¬†title is based:

    Strictly From Hunger: Explanations, investigations

     
    • arekhill1 12:25 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Lucky we live here, Sr. Muse, and have birth certificates that mean we can’t get kicked out. If I were a refugee, though, I’d dream about a big house in a warmer climate than Sweden’s.

      Like

      • mistermuse 7:43 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Well, if I were a refugee running for my (and my family’s) life, any war-ravaged country is too “hot” to either stay in or go to. But, given the luxury of a choice, I’m with you – I too would prefer the climate of, let’s say, Hawaii (not that Sweden wouldn’t be a nice place to visit but not live, as they say).

        Like

    • Don Frankel 6:17 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I find this incredibly ironic because my family fled Hungary in 1919. Actually that part had become Czechoslovakia. Then I remember back in the 1950’s after the Hungarian uprising against the U.S.S.R. some distant relative made her way to the U.S. We all went out to the airport to pick her up. I remember it so vividly, as my father spoke to her in Hungarian which seemed so strange. Hearing my Father speak a foreign language.

      I guess it’s.

      Like

    • M√©l@nie 8:13 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I must have watched “Casablanca”… 10 times, and I’ve never been tired of it!!! ūüôā

      • * *

      a human tragedy has been going on in “old Europe” these past months… and no country(government) has any steady or solid solutions!!! I was born in Romania and Hungary’s attitude hasn’t surprised me… history often repeats itself… btw, Hungarians have NO European origin, they’ve been the descendants of the Asian Huns(migratory people!), just like the Finnish people: their native languages sound almost alike, being reckoned as Finno-Ugric language family…

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:30 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, the story of your family fleeing Hungary in 1919 is very interesting. WWI was over by then, so I assume the country was so devastated that living conditions were terrible. An excellent movie could probably be made of every refugee’s story.

      There’s another scene in CASABLANCA which reminds me of the “price” refugees pay to escape, such as what Syrian refugees pay smugglers to take them to Greece in overcrowded small boats which may capsize in rough Mediterranean waters:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BztF71vFpnE

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:38 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Mel@nie, for the info about the Hungarian people – I didn’t know they aren’t of European origin. History often repeats itself, indeed.
      I too have watched Casablanca many times – in my opinion (and that of many others), it’s the greatest movie ever made.

      Liked by 1 person

    • michele39 10:26 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      History repeats itself.

      Like

    • mistermuse 6:23 pm on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, as George Santayana said (or words to that effect)…and, unfortunately, sometimes it seems even those who do learn from history repeat it.

      Like

  • mistermuse 2:59 pm on April 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baccarat, blackjack, cards, Casablanca, casinos, gambling, , , , , poker, , Steve Allen, ,   

    WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE 

    Do you know what day it is today? Of course you do — April 5 is GO FOR BROKE DAY. “Going for broke,” I suppose, could be spun several ways, but as the subject of this post, it’s a day for the (w)ages. I’m putting my hard-earned money on gambling, and I’m betting that you”ll treasure these quotes on the subject. If not, they come with a funny-back guarantee, so what have you got to lose?

    There is an easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune: go there with a large one. -Jack Yelton

    I like to play blackjack. I’m not addicted to gambling, I’m addicted to sitting in a semi-circle. -Mitch Hedberg

    Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math. -Unknown

    Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. -Steven Wright

    I used to be a heavy gambler. But now I just make mental bets. That’s how I lost my mind. -Steve Allen

    I bet on a horse at ten-to-one. It didn’t come in until half-past five. -Henny Youngman

    I don’t gamble, because winning $100 doesn’t give me great pleasure. But losing $100 pisses me off. -Alex Trebeck

    Nobody has ever bet enough on a winning horse. -Richard Sasuly

    You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people. -Will Rogers

    Someone once asked me why women don’t gamble as much as men and I gave the commonsensical reply that we don’t have as much money. That was a true but incomplete answer. In fact, women’s total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage. -Gloria Steinem

    Money can be lost in more ways than won. -Evan Esar

    Baccarat is a game whereby the croupier gathers in money with a flexible sculling oar, then rakes it home. If I could have borrowed his oar, I would have stayed. -Mark Twain

    Of course, no discourse on gambling would be complete without this:

     
    • Don Frankel 5:23 pm on April 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “Oh Monsieur Rick, Monsieur Rick.” The girl from Bulgaria.
      “He’s just a lucky guy.”

      Like

      • mistermuse 8:14 pm on April 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Love that scene, Don….and the previous one, and the next one, and every one..

        Like

    • arekhill1 7:33 pm on April 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Duly noted, Sr. Muse. Do you happen to know when it will be “Go for Baroque Day?”

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:24 pm on April 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If you’re referring to Barack’s older brother, Baroque Obama, I think his day is long past. Come to think of it, Barack’s days are dwindling down to a precious few too. Maybe Hillary will return the favor when she’s elected President and appoint him Secretary of State.

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 9:06 am on April 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The one thing I learned in Las Vegas was how to roll quarters into the slot machines. This skill helped me when vending machines used to take small change. Now the soda pop and snack vendors only collect the green stuff. No fun trying to roll dollar bills into the slots and those darn macines won’t give you your change anyway.
      I am also waiting for a Baroque Day. I nominate April 20. Which is also the birthday of Adolph Hitler, who absolutely went Baroque trying to conquer Russia.

      Like

    • mistermuse 10:58 am on April 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Now that you mention Hitler, I can’t think of one time in CASABLANCA that his name was mentioned. I wonder if that was a deliberate decision by the writers, not to pay him that “honor.”

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 6:38 pm on April 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If I remember correctly mistermuse, I think that the mention of Hitler or any referemce to Nazism was deliberately omitted from the film CASABLANCA. One of my favorites also.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:42 pm on April 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Michaeline, I’ve just watched CASABLANCA again, and I was mistaken about Hitler’s name not being mentioned. Near the beginning of the film, when Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca and is greeted by Captain Louis Renault, they exchange “Heil Hitler”s. But that is the only time, so I was close but no cigar.

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:48 pm on April 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That was a long reach since the heil to Hitler was just a greeting. The film was finally released to theaters after many delays. It seems the beginning of World War II coincided with the making of CASABLANCA. I think Hollywood did not want to make create a movie that relied on the timeline of that war. which now makes the film fit in with any generation. It is timeless. Good attempt to correct your misgivings but no still cigar for you, mistermuse. ūüôā

      Like

    • mistermuse 6:17 pm on April 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, I already said “close but no cigar” – so I’m not sure what you meant by that, Michaeline. In any case, the story of the making of CASABLANCA is interesting in itself, and no matter how many times I see the film, I never tire of watching it

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 7:20 pm on April 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I meant no harm and no foul, mistermuse. However, I did feel a bit overlooked when I wrote about “Hitler going for Baroque in trying to conquer Russia.” So, now I guess we are even and you were very close in deed by mentioning “Heil Hitler.” Most of us probably missed that greeting but you did catch it, so kudos to you! By the way I must admit that my birthday is also on April 20th. Hopefully I turned out better than aforementioned dictator.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:59 pm on April 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Michaeline, I often don’t congratulate readers like Ricardo & others on their witticisms (and vice versa) because I think there’s an understood appreciation of each other’s writing ability, and explicit praise seems unnecessary…even embarrassing or awkward. So take it as a compliment that I think your writing has reached a point where your “gems” no longer need (ap)praising. ūüôā

        Like

    • M√©lanie 10:55 am on April 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Bogie and Claude Rains… “o tempora, o mores!” I still watch “Casablanca” called in French “film-culte”, each time it’s on a TV channel…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:39 pm on April 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      In America, a cult film is generally regarded as a film with an extremely enthusiastic, but relatively limited, following. By that definition, CASABLANCA is too broadly popular to be considered “film-culte.” Personally, I like the term and think it suits almost any truly classic film, regardless of its mass appeal.

      Speaking of classic films, “o tempora, o mores” is spoken by the reporter (according to Wikipedia) in INHERIT THE WIND, the Spencer Tracy/Fredric March-starring drama based on the Scopes MonkeyTrial. I’ve seen that movie a few times but don’t recall hearing that classic phrase, so I’ll have to watch/listen for it the next time it’s on TV.

      Like

  • mistermuse 4:44 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Casablanca, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, , , , , , Jack Benny, Maltese Falcon, Mary Astor, , Peul Henreid,   

    WHAT A CHARACTER….ACTOR 

    I have in the past noted the birthdays or deaths of a number of star actors. Yesterday marked the death of an actor who may not have been a leading man-type star, but was one of the leading and most unforgetable character actors of all time. If you’re a fan of classic movies of Hollywood’s Golden Age, you’ve seen him as Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon and as Ugarte in¬†Casablanca. I refer to Laszlo Lowenstein – better known as PETER LORRE (June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964).

    Humphrey Bogart may have been THE star (along with Ingrid Bergman in the latter of those films), but for my money, the secondary players were no less memorable: Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor, Elisha Cook Jr., Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt and, of course, Peter Lorre.

    Lorre was born Laszlo Lowenstein in Austria-Hungary and began his film career in Berlin in the late 1920s, making his first big splash as a child murderer in the German film¬†M¬†in 1931. After fleeing Hitler’s persecution of Jews, he made his first English language film, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, in 1934. He then moved to Hollywood where, after several years, his career entered a period of decline until Director John Huston cast him in The Maltese Falcon in 1941, and the rest is mystery….along with occasional comedy – speaking of which, here he is in a guest appearance on the Jack Benny Show in 1963:

     
    • scifihammy 12:59 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Always knew he was in a film when you heard that unique voice. ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline Montezinos 3:40 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, that is correct. Peter Lorre had a distinctive voice. He also appeared with Cary Grant in a film I just saw again on TCM, something about a ship from Singapore on the China Sea. At first I did not recognize Lorre with the facial hair. He had a sparse goatee of some kind which made him look like the Jew he was in real life. He played the nefarious captain of that junkee ship. On board was also some of the famous character actors Muse described. Jean Harlow in her break out role was a petty thief trying to escape the law with Gable as her guide.

        Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:20 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Right, scifihammy – not to mention knowing he was in a film when you read the credits – hahahaha. ūüôā

        Michaeline, that film sounds vaguely familiar. Now you’ve made me curious, so I’ll have to check and find the title, because I think I may have seen it many years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

        • scifihammy 7:52 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink

          Well I usually caught a glimpse of the middle of a film my Dad was watching – and I recognised Lorre from his voice ūüôā
          Nowadays there’s probably only George Clooney with ‘the voice’ – but there used to be James Mason, Richard Burton etc etc

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 9:15 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink

          And let’s also give credit to certain actresses (men weren’t the only actors with distinctive voices). Some who come to mind were Billie Burke (of Glinda the Good Witch fame), Mae West, Marjorie Main, and Mae Questel (the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl).

          Liked by 1 person

        • scifihammy 11:40 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink

          Marlene Dietrich ūüôā

          Like

    • ladysighs 5:12 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about the secondary characters. They had character. ūüôā You couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the parts Lorre did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:25 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Right on. That’s what made the great character actors great – they “owned” the parts they played.

        Like

    • Don Frankel 6:54 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “Wait weren’t those German Couriers carrying Letters of Transit?”
      “Poor devils.”
      “That’s right Ugarte I am a little more impressed with you.”

      You mean that guy and that movie?

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:41 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I can picture the scene even as you mention it (as well I should – I’ve seen CASABLANCA so many times, I Must Remember This….and just about every scene in the movie).

      Like

    • mistermuse 1:46 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Strange that you should mention Marlene Dietrich, ladysighs, because I was going to include her in my reply to you this morning, but by the time I started typing in the other names, I forgot hers. Either I’m getting old, or…..I forget what else.

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:12 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse, I think that movie I described had the words “the ship and on the China Sea (s)” if that is of anyhelp in finding the title. Sorry I do not recall the title but mainly I remember the characters, if the film was not a huge box office success. Some movies are not appreciated until they have aged, like good wine.
      I think CASABLANCA was not a favorite of the critics and theater going public at the time it was realeased. Later it did become one of the the Top Ten favorite movies. One of my favorites is the movie with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak called VERTIGO. There were not many character actors in that one as Novak managed to dispense of any witnesses to her crimes. Ha! Ha! She was so scary playing two characters.

      Like

      • mistermuse 7:53 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Michaeline, I think the film you saw was actually titled CHINA SEAS because it was on TCM last week (March 16), the plot is similar to your description. and Jean Harlow was one of the stars – however her co-star was Clark Gable (not Cary Grant), and Peter Lorre is not listed in the cast. A thorough search reveals that Harlow and Cary Grant were together in only one picture (SUZY), and Peter Lorre wasn’t in that one either.

        As for VERTIGO, it’s not only one of my favorite Hitchcock films, but one of my favorites by any director….but then, Hitchcock made at least a half-dozen of my “favorite” films!

        Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:14 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I liked your recall of dialogue, Don Frankel, from the film, Casablanca. Very good memory you have. How many times have you seen it? I have lost count of my viewings.

      Like

      • Michaeline Montezinos 9:41 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I do not know why I confuse Clark Gable with Cary Grant. Maybe because they have the same initials..C G? I also confuse two actresses who look alike and have similar names. This has been going on since I fell and bruised my brain. I hope this not going to be a permanent problem. It might drive my poor husband up the wall every time he gently corrects me. mistermuse, thanks for your corrections. What would I do without your good memory? It is far better than mine.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:47 am on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Casablanca, , , , George Marion Jr., , , , , , , lyricists, , , , Spring Is Here, spring songs, , There'll Be Another Spring   

    IT’S SPRING AGAIN 

    It’s spring again / And birds on the wing again / Start to sing again / The old melody.¬† ¬†from I¬†LOVE YOU (lyrics and music by Cole Porter)

    Yes, fellow (and gal)¬†music lovers, it’s¬†spring again — the season¬†which usually¬†comes unusually late or early every year¬†and seems to inspire the romantic¬†poet in¬†every song writer….or at least it did when the world was more¬†melodic, and¬†composers were Cole¬†Porters at heart.¬†It has been said of Porter that “even in the absence of his melodies, his words distill an unmistakable mixture of poignancy and wit that marks him as a genius of light verse.”*

    I think the same can be said, though¬†not always¬†to¬†the same¬†degree of genius, of many song writers¬†from¬†America’s Golden Age of popular music. No matter their individual personalities, their¬†songs —¬†not least,¬†their “spring songs” —¬†betray them as “rank sentimentalists” beneath the surface (in the manner of¬†Captain Renault seeing through¬†Rick in CASABLANCA).

    To the point, here’s a sampling of such songs (and their lyricists)¬†from that¬†lost¬†world, followed by clips of¬†recordings sung by voices¬†which¬†may sound¬†strange to generational¬†“foreign-ears,” but as Jimmy Stewart once¬†said of his singing Porter’s EASY TO LOVE in the film BORN TO DANCE, the song’s so good, even he couldn’t mess it up:

    SPRING IS HERE (Lorenz Hart) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFiNQObPxEk

    THERE’LL BE ANOTHER SPRING (Peggy Lee) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1utcGFiXu8

    SPRING WILL BE A LITTLE LATE THIS YEAR (Frank Loesser) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbwRgQ-I_ms

    IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING (George Marion Jr.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svi45srqhgM

    IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING (Oscar Hammerstein II) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-JLbac6EVE

    SPRING, SPRING, SPRING (Johnny Mercer) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT6RHkYViOc

    *quoted from the dust jacket of Cole Porter, selected lyrics, Robert Kimball, editor

     
    • Don Frankel 7:11 am on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Great music and the perfect day for it as it finally got warm in New York. I don’t mean to belabor the point but it is also…. “Springtime for Hitler” but we’ve already played that clip.

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:44 am on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. Of all those “spring songs” and lyricists, the least known (even to old music lovers) are undoubtedly IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING/George Marion Jr.
      Marion was primarily a screenwriter of such great films as LOVE ME TONIGHT (Maurice Chevalier & Jeanette MacDonald) and THE GAY DIVORCEE (Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers), but he also partnered with Richard Whiting (father of Margaret Whiting) to write the lyrics for some very good songs. Listen closely to IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING – in the words of one author, “the song is an ideal illustration of the high standard of popular songwriting of this era.”

      Like

    • Don Frankel 6:35 am on March 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Every once in awhile I’m forced to admit to someone of my generation that I don’t know very much about the Beatles. I mean they seem like 4 rather nice fellows. It’s not like I have anything against them. It’s just that I don’t own a single one of their albums.

      I often wonder just how much the song writers of this era influenced us? I mean the tight construction, the vivid images, the wit. It couldn’t not have done anything but aide us immensely.

      Like

    • mistermuse 10:10 am on March 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t agree more, Don, if by “us” you mean those of us of a certain age. I fear that the ability to appreciate the qualities you cite has been increasingly lost “as time goes by.” Few young people today understand that if they had grown up decades ago, they would’ve been as much “into” that era’s music as they are into today’s. In a sense, they are prisoners of their culture without realizing it.

      As for the Beatles, having already “fallen in love” with the work of the above songwriters and their contemporaries by the time the B-boys came along, they didn’t impress me originally, but I eventually came to appreciate some of their songs. Still, the combination of wit and romance in such oldies as IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING has never been surpassed.

      Like

    • Don Frankel 4:49 pm on March 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right Muse. I don’t mean to say anything bad about the Beatles and there is always Sinatra singing ‘Something in the way she moves’.

      But then there is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJpGHR6ofus

      and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAdM7fEZ-zY

      I’m kind of glad we got born when we did.

      Like

    • mistermuse 6:22 pm on March 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Likewise, Don.

      For those who don’t know, the songs you kindly provided clips for were written by Frank Loesser and Cole Porter (two of the few “Golden Age” composers who wrote both the lyrics and music of their songs).

      Like

  • mistermuse 4:53 pm on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Casablanca, , , love of writing, , , , , , writer quotes, ,   

    WRITE OF PASSAGE 

    There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
    –Ernest Hemingway¬†

    Before becoming an internet¬†blogger several years ago, I had been a¬†much-published “typewriter”¬†poet and writer for over twenty years in various literary journals and magazines….yet I don’t recall ever being asked why I write. Perhaps the¬†motivation is obvious. I write because I’m a writer —¬†writing is in my blood. The reason¬†I write is akin to¬†the answer¬†Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid)¬†gave Rick (Humphrey Bogart)¬†in CASABLANCA:¬†We might as well question why we breathe.

    This is not to say that everyone who writes is a writer¬†who must write. Just as there are all kinds of people, there are all kinds of writers with all kinds of agendas, many of whom (from a passion standpoint)¬†appear more agenda-driven than writing-driven….and that’s all well and good, though I’m not sure¬†you can¬†have it both ways¬†and call yourself¬†a creative writer.¬†It seems to me that anyone who doesn’t love writing¬†for its own sake¬†is not on the same page as¬†a creative writer….and it seems that I am not alone in that opinion:

    A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
    –Maya Angelou

    The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. –Mark Twain

    We live and breathe words. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world….¬† –Cassandra Clare

    Fantasy is hardly an excape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.
    –Lloyd Alexander

    There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.¬† —Oscar Wilde

    Or maybe that isn’t all.¬†There are many more¬†quotes from writers¬†worth repeating, and I expect I’ll be repeating some of¬†them¬†sometime soon.

     
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