Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekend Matinee



I’m pretty sure the seed from which I sprung -- as it came zinging out from space, escaping the purgatory of non existence and eternal mystery -- had specific delivery instructions. Something to the effect of, “Deliver to English landed gentry; don’t spare the horses.” Blame the mail. Something got mixed up amongst all the bills and ads for free roofing estimates. The package bound for Kent landed at an apartment in Washington.

No wonder I was a fussy baby. My first words were, “Where’s my god damned pony?”

So of course I like movies about the British Aristocracy. Austen? Everyone’s seen Austen. What about the Shooting Party? If you’ve screened Pride and Prejudice one too many times (Margaret) try something old, something new. And, on a personal note, I met James Mason shortly before the film came out. Not MET, just met. I was dating someone from Disney at the time, and this Disney guy was a bit of the all show. Everytime his Jag pulled out of a parking space, it left a trail of nuts and bolts. But I’ll always remember him fondly, because, due to him, I met one of life’s great charmers

Mason and Gielgud in the Shooting Party

33 comments:

  1. Weekday matinee sounds even better.
    I looked in the phone book. Saw a brunch of James Masons.

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  2. A diatribe - the ruin of rural England. ha ha ha ha. What a great film, I'd never heard of it. And did you realize your YouTube clip is followed by a Monty Python Hunting Party sketch? Even better!

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  3. omg, I am SUCH a fan of James Mason!
    I envy your encounter--

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  4. British or not, one can always be a pamphleteer.

    GG

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  5. That just broke my heart a little. I miss them again.

    Remind me to tell you about my foray into being a British actor.

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  6. I've watched a um, lot of Austen. Time to branch out.

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  7. No wonder you love my drawing room, Hiker!

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  8. My husband just opened his advent candy (from his annual advent chocolate calendar). Today his gift was... A PONY!
    Consumed in one swift bite.
    Karin, have you ever considered the possibilities of an advent calendar? You might get your pony that way. Maybe with a british accent.

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  9. To my knowledge, this is the only time Mason & Gielgud acted together. I love the respectful way they play off of each other.

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  10. I had a similiar experience!!! I'm convinced that I was switched at birth. I have since acquired several silver spoons, yet somehow dining on Kraft Dinner doesn't quite equate. *sigh* We must soldier on, you and I.

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  11. High praise for the German Shepherds phone book comment.

    I fear poor Gielgud was bribed into appearing in Caligula. Gore Vidal must of had something on him.

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  12. Now there's a film I had meant to see, but missed. Still...
    I had hoped the two protagonists might come to an "agreement": I'd expected it from a man of Mason's character's stature and patient demeanor.
    Gielgud, as the man of determined, off-beat principle is somewhat the lonely fellow, isn't he, happy to relate with even an adversary?
    Sometimes that happens...

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  13. The clip reminds me of my agency days when I attempted to change the way things were being done amid shots fired off from the good ol' boys network. Duck duckee! I like to identify with a Gielgud character. I thank you for enlightened me to many other wonderful performances. Your knowledge of film astounds and inspires. Gielgud's inner approach and the time he takes to listen (technique)--then react in a way that registers thought visually is, to me, what makes him one of the greatest stage/film actors. He has the guts (Gielguts) to let a thought cloud sit in the air until the winds of dialogue dissipate it. Unrelated to Gielgud or English lit although not unrelated to Britsh cinema==
    I'm watching Uncle Vanya (BBCTV via Netflix) in two versions at the moment, one 1970 version is with Anthony Hopkins, the other is 1991 version with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (born in Oak Park, Ill.). Casting of Mary is so wrong it's hard to watch. It's too bad there is a space/time continuum involved--I would plunk David Warner, the 1991 Vanya character into the 1970 cast. I can only imagine how fabulous it would be to see him play against the strength of Anthony Hopkins, the dashingly desperate and alcoholic Doctor Mikhail Lvovich Astrov. Garsh, I do go on, don't I? if I had the time I'd blog about the comparisons--I mean I am turning into such a Chekhovite even attributing works of Ibsen to Chekhov, as you know. I am currently and unashamedly obsessed with
    “Where’s my god damned pony?”
    Where's my exit? Where's the horse I rode in on?

    wv "aldente"

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  14. Pamphlateer? Pamphlatier?? I could do pamphlets. About my speed. I'm out of the rest of this one.I"m feeling inadequate again......
    V

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  15. I don't know...an apartment in Washington sounds nice (Kent, I presume). Never did see this movie-will have to now. My all time favorite character of Gielgud's was the father in Bridehead's. He had the best lines. (Did he really appear in Caligula?)
    Isn't it great to meet film legends? Very cool. John Houseman nodded to me from across the street while at USC - that was right after Paper Chase played at the auditorium for a buck - I should of been studying for chem... "Mister Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer." Speaking of Tim Bottoms -how about the all time great matinee 'The Last Picture Show' - maybe more of a late show material.

    On a different topic, and I attribute this completely to your recent post, you won't believe who I gave a ride to two nights ago, well toward very early morning...Andre Agassi - he was very nice and still has a pretty smile. I woke up with a smile too.

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  16. Wow... how wonderful. I didn't realize you shared my love of James Mason. When I was younger and facing some sort of crisis, I used to imagine how James Mason would handle the situation. Seriously! If Mason's imaginary response didn't inspire me, then I envisioned what Lauren Bacall would do.

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  17. I want to know about Petrea's foray into British acting.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Yes, yes, come on then, Mz Petrea, dear, regale us, please, won't you?

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  20. So many James Mason fans, who'd have thought? He was fearless about the roles he chose, which sometimes worked and othertimes didn't. Bandit's take on this scene was spot on (as the landed gentry and Carolynn would say).

    And Gielgud fans. Ms H & Tash, you should read his autobiography because he's a brilliant and funny writer (or get the audio book -- even better).

    Now I wonder if Petrea will come through for her fans...

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  21. The story's too long to post here. But suffice it to say after 20 years of acting I realized I didn't just want to be an actor, I wanted to be a British actor. So I saved my pennies and went to England for a summer acting program. I studied with great British teachers, some members of the RSC. It was a life-changing experience.

    Do you know how easy it is for a British actor to get work in the States? Not so the other way around.

    So I came back. But I got a lot of material out of it and I'm almost finished with the novel, which has nothing to do with British actors.

    That's the nutshell.

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  22. You know, I think this may be the only blog I frequent not only for its content but yet again to read the commentary?

    A ripping yarn, that, Mz P, I'll look forward to the book.

    (seriously, I tip my hat to you for pursuing excellence in craft)

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  23. Thanks, bandit. Please forgive the late reply, I'm writing today.

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  24. I looked up the James Mason refs in the Gielgud autobio. Gielgud said, via observing Mason, he learned how to act for the camera -- How to show thoughts and emotions without making faces.

    WV: Dismsed. Class dismsed.

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  25. I was just about to say: "OMG! I was supposed to be born to the landed gentry in England too" when I say your snide little remark. And let me just say this: You can never watch Pride and Prejudice too many times and that my secret boyfriend Colin Firth and I are incensed at your blasphemy.

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  26. Margaret, I feel the sting, I'm a bit of an Austen movie junkie myself.

    AH, I have put a hold on the library's DVD copy of our weekend matinee and will be perusing it forthwith -sniff, sniff.

    wv neglocks
    If you cut off your dreadlocks you will be in a state of negative locks - neglocks.
    -or-
    I neglocked to curtsy.

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  27. My (awesome) son liked your Tiger article. Thought it very funny.

    Did anyone read the 2nd Bridget Jones book? Where she interviews Colin Firth - and asks him over & over about the dive in the lake scene. Classic lit about classic lit of a classic BBC.

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  28. My final thought here,
    I do intend to use the word "abrogate" often and widely and no doubt inappropriately.

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  29. I abrogate Bridget Jones, but I would never abrogate your son.

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  30. Shit. Dictionary.com. Scuse me.

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  31. Oh. Uh, okay. Go ahead, nullify Brigit Jones, I dare ya.

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