TRYING TO CATCH UP
I've been gone for a few days, according to the calendar. Seems like a lifetime.
I was sorry to hear that Bruno Kirby died. I'll always remember him as the young Clemenza in The Godfather II. The young Vito Corleone had done a favor for Clemenza, who was then a stranger to Vito. Clemenza wanted to repay the favor, so he broke into a stranger's house. "A friend of mine has a nice rug. Maybe your wife would like it."
Bill Croke has written a nice tribute to John Huston for today's TAS. I've liked most of Huston's work, especially Chinatown. He played the ruthless Noah Cross, who tells Jake Gittes (Nicholson): 'Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, public buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.
Until I read Croke's piece, I had no idea that Huston was involved with the movie Moby Dick.
John Huston at 100: Nineteen fifty-six saw Moby Dick, Herman Melville's epic tale of monomaniacal revenge on the high seas, and Huston's tribute to nineteenth century whaling scrimshaw carvings (many of Huston's best pictures were opportunities for him to explore on film art forms related to milieu). Gregory Peck played mad Captain Ahab, with Richard Basehart as Ishmael. Orson Welles had a memorable cameo delivering Father Mapple's famous sermon at the beginning. The screenplay was written by the young writer Ray Bradbury (under Huston's heavy-handed supervision), soon to make a name for himself as America's premier science fiction author. It was another of Huston's wild -- if not dangerous -- location shoots, this time on the storm-tossed Irish Sea.
The film's paean to 1950s high tech special effects was the mechanical white whale that foundered twice and almost sank. It required a man inside to operate it, but after those two dangerous mishaps, the entire crew refused when Huston sought a volunteer. So the director took a long slug from a bottle of Irish whiskey and climbed in himself, issuing directorial orders as he did so. The scene went well. Years later, Ray Bradbury wrote a comic roman a clef titled Green Shadows, White Whale, chronicling the briny insanity of the making of Moby Dick. The thinly disguised Huston character in the novel is simply named "John," and functions as the narrator's own private Captain Ahab.
8 Proposal would make Chinatown car-free: For the past year Chen has quietly been pitching a proposal to stop vehicle traffic along historic sections of Mott and Bayard streets to encourage tourism. His idea isn't being ignored. … The Chinatown proposal, however, is not without opposition. "It's not something any business person in Chinatown will support," said Jan Lee, owner of the Chinese home furnishings shop Sinotique. "We have more immediate problems like illegal parking."
I want to thank everyone for the best wishes left in the comments section for my mother. After a lifetime of good health and an active social life, she's had her share of severe, and sometimes strange, illnesses in the past 4 - 5 years, including cancer and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Last December 22nd, when she suffered a mild heart attack, they discovered a small tumor -- about 1" in size -- in her right lung. (She's not a smoker.) The biopsy came back "benign." So, she went home and seemed to do very well. Then in mid-March she became violently ill with a stomach bug and ever since then complained of a pain in her back which has become increasingly more severe. Nothing was found to cause the pain, so everyone assumed the pain was due to a pulled muscle from vomiting. With time other symptoms cropped up: weakness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite. She's morphed into a shriveled up ghost of herself. She finally had an MRI last week which showed that the once small tumor in January has drasically increased to be about 6" x 5" -- hence, her pain. Even though the doctors say they haven't seen the results from pathology yet, they're certain the tumor is malignant. It's also inoperable. She started radiation therapy to shrink the tumor in hopes that it will alleviate her pain. She's at home with round-the-clock care, and we contacted Hospice. No one has any idea of how long she has. After all of her illnesses, she just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny, so who knows? At this point, her pain is the most pressing issue. She's on Lortab, and as long as she's sitting in her recliner or in bed, she's okay. But once she begins to move, the Lortab is ineffective. Hospice is supposed to be excellent when it comes to pain management, so we're hoping she'll finally get some relief.