Films I’ve watched recently:
Leave Her To Heaven (1945)
This drama about obsessive love (starring one of Hollywood’s most beautiful leading ladies, Gene Tierney) was considered controversial for its time. Novelist Richard meets a socialite (daughter of a famous chemist) on the train to New Mexico. He is instantly struck by her beauty. Ellen (Tierney) is in New Mexico to meet-up w/ her mother and sister, then scatter the ashes of her beloved father. Her family invites the well-mannered/charming Richard to spend time on their spacious vacation home.
Ellen, a strong-willed/mysterious young woman, doesn’t hide her keen interest in Richard. In the span of a few days, they fall deeply in love. One night, her former fiance (Vincent Price) drops in. Russell is a self-assured prosecutor with his eye on politics; Ellen is very cold towards him. Her family is surprised when Ellen suddenly proposes to Richard!
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
This drama, focusing on the joys and sorrows of marriage and sudden wealth, stars Van Johnson, Elizabeth Taylor, Walter Pidgeon, and Donna Reed. In the exciting aftermath of WWII, a likeable/optimistic Midwestern GI named Charles (Johnson) shares a passionate kiss with a gorgeous young woman in a Paris crowd. At a cafe, he meets a sophisticated woman, an American named Marion (Donna Reed). It turns out that Marion is dating one of Charles’ old friends, a Frenchman named Claude. Marion, who’s obviously interested in Charles, invites him to her house for a party.
At the party, Charles is happily surprised to see the woman he kissed, Marion’s fun-loving younger sister, Helen (Taylor). Though they seem like opposites, he’s down-to-earth while she lives for parties, they quickly fall in love. The only problem is money; Helen’s father lives above his means and Charles is merely a struggling journalist/aspiring novelist.
I’m currently watching:
This is an early ’90s courtroom drama deaing w/ ambitious/young Pittsburgh ADAs. You can see it on Hulu; it ran for two seasons. The cast includes a young Sarah Jessica Parker (then just 25 y.o.), former model Debrah Farentino, and several fine character actors: Jane Kaczmarek, Jon Tenney, and Joe Morton.
The Tudors (Season 3)
I have watched the first two episodes so far. Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has started his married life (again) w/ Jane Seymour (Annabelle Wallis), a beautiful noblewoman who seems beyond reproach at first (b/c of her virginity, good breeding, and and mild personality). Jane surprises and angers Henry when she speaks up for the banished Princess Mary (Sarah Bolger). Jane quietly seeks to help women, who are “often put upon in this world.”
There is unrest in the North (Yorkshire; Lincolnshire) as abbeys and churches (Catholic) continue to be looted and destroyed. The clergy are disrespected and beaten, in many cases. A group of “commons” (farmers, laborers, etc.) organize to voice their discontent. A few nobles take on the cause. Henry goes off on Cromwell (James Frain) when he realizes just how big the group has become. These “pilgrims” starts marching to London, gathering more and more of supporters along the way.
I’m currently reading:
How Starbucks Saved My Life – Michael Gates Gill
Fired after 25 yrs at one of NYC’s biggest ad agencies, the author (then in his early 60s) wonders what to do w/ his life while sitting at a Starbucks (78th & Lexington) near his childhood home. He’s in dire need of health insurance. Suddenly, a confident young black woman named Crystal, the manager of another Starbucks store (96th & Broadway) offers him a job. With no other option at hand, he agrees!