Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Farewell, September, we hardly knew ye...

Can anyone tell me where September actually went? I have this sort of funny mental picture of a cartoon me grasping tightly onto calendar pages that are blowing too swiftly past (like they used to in old movies) to no avail. After the august ennui of August, September was a mere blur...a shadowy glimpse of a month you caught out of the corner of your eye.

This is my favorite time of year and I suspect that's why it seems to go by altogether too fast. I wait anxiously, enjoying the summer for a while, but mentally summoning the first cool evenings of fall. It's like the vacation you wait all year for and it zips by too quickly...that's what all of autumn is for me. The smell of leaves, the smoky fires, pumpkins and hearty soup. And there's nowhere like New England to celebrate the natural wonders of the season. While there are too many miles of scenic roads to ever get to see everything, it's still fun to venture out and stop at apple orchards and pumpkin farms. It's as pretty as every old movie or picture postcard that you've ever seen.

And while we're on the subject of old movies, (okay, we weren't, but I am too written-out from other work to manage a nice clean transition here) I have to admit I am a major fan of Bette Davis. The classic weeper, 1939's Dark Victory, is on now and in addition to her fine performance, I find myself seriously coveting some of her ensembles. During the first half of the film Bette is a total thrill seeker--living a life of fast cars (for 1939), handsome bachelors, and fast horses. So that means Orry-Kelly gowns and an utterly classic wardrobe. There's also an adorable plaid jacket--very Pendleton--that she wears! The movie features an all-star cast of men, too...George Brent, Ronald Reagan (looking stunningly good in a tuxedo) and Humphrey Bogart with an Irish brogue (because all horsemen are Irish and have brogues.) And of course there are horses...a horse named Challenger competing in the Grand National. It's marvelous. And I'm not the only one who thinks was nominated for a few Academy Awards in 1939, but that was a tough year to be any other film than Gone With the Wind. Bette was given a Best Actress nod but lost to Vivien Leigh. The movie also lost Best Picture to GWTW.

So I can hear you wondering, what is her favorite Bette Davis film?  And thank you for asking so I didn't have to make another awkward transition.'s a toss up between All About Eve and Now, Voyager. All About Eve has some of the quickest and most acerbic dialogue's witty and never dull. Now, Voyager, though, has an edge as it is one of my all-time favorite films. My Jeopardy friend, Myshkin, (we didn't play against each other, but were in LA at the same time for the show) and I have devoted hours of email and discussion to the familial relationships portrayed in the film. I don't think that there's been a frame of the movie that we've not analyzed with scientific intricacy--in the most loving, scientific way, of course. I stop short of actually saying the lines along with Charlotte (Bette Davis' character), but only just.

With apologies for rambling on and a promise to be more cohesive and focused tomorrow (really, I'll try)...I think I'm going to try to watch the Minnesota Twins vs the Detroit Tigers for a few minutes. Any regular readers know that my saying I get a little jittery at defining moments (for team, horses...) is an understatement and tonight is a biggie for the Twinkies.

I'll sign off for tonight with a little Now, Voyager.

HERE's a link to listen to the 1943 Lux Radio Theatre's AWESOME. (Ida Lupino playing the Bette Davis Role and Paul Henreid in his same role.)

And here's a little Walt Whitman...

Now Finale to the Shore
Now finale to the shore,
Now land and life finale and farewell,
Now Voyager depart, (much, much for thee is yet in store,)
Often enough hast thou adventur'd o'er the seas,
Cautiously cruising, studying the charts,
Duly again to port and hawser's tie returning;
But now obey thy cherish'd secret wish,
Embrace thy friends, leave all in order,
To port and hawser's tie no more returning,
Depart upon thy endless cruise old Sailor.

The Untold Want
The untold want by life and land ne'er granted, 
Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was so interested in your comments on Dark Victory. I caught the end of the movie recently while channel surfing, and as always shed some tears. Although I had seen it before, this time that I noticed something that I hadn't consciously registered in previous viewings which was Bette's farewell to the dogs.

And speaking of Bette's wardrobe in the film, I loved and coveted the plaid jacket. I would love to know what the colors were.

My favorite of her films? All about Eve.

Thanks for writing.