Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama Channels Astaire

So, someone else spotted the similarity. Remember "You Saw It First" on ReelStreets!!!

Posted by Joseph "Jon" Lanthier

Obama Channels Astaire

Obama’s Inaugural Address was memorable. Obama’s speeches generally are. But the line I hear quoted from it most often comes not from the Bible, Abraham Lincoln, or our Founding Fathers, but from ... Fred Astaire. You know the one I’m talking about:

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

It’s a paraphase, almost a verbatim quote, of a lyric from the song "Pick Yourself Up" sung by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the 1936 RKO musical, Swing Time (above).

Does Obama identify with Astaire? There are the ears, of course, and the general slimness of physique. Most important, there is the incomparable grace of Astaire, the grace aspired to by a moviegoing generation who hoped, like Astaire, to transcend through that grace the Great Depression, economic and psychological, that surrounded them.

Which makes Obama’s (surely conscious) homage to Astaire particularly apt. We all know we are going through something like a second Great Depression. And in our hearts we hope to get through it the way our grandparents eventually did – with the help of role models like Astaire, or in the present case, a President who apparently seeks to channel the physical and spiritual grace of an Astaire. Transcendence is wherever you find it.

In the meantime, here are the lyrics (written by Dorothy Fields to the music of Jerome Kern) that Obama paraphrased, as good a summation of his message as any:

Nothing’s impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off,
Start all over again.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend in the Country

If you are a fan of the 1986 cult classic comedy “Withnail & I” you now have the chance of spending “a wonderful weekend in the country”. Sleddale Hall, a traditionally built stone and slate farmhouse near Snap, Cumbria made famous in the film has now been put up for sale by its current owners United Utilities. This lovely 18th century cottage, in a very rural setting is within easy reach of Penrith where you can pickup good quality rubber boots and buy cake. Its nearest neighbours are over a mile away and the nearest public road some 2 miles away.

The property, which has been derelict for a number of years, is in need of some attention and has been valued at £145,000 by the Estate Agents Saville. However if you wish to purchase “Uncle Monty’s” farm expect fierce competition from film enthusiasts at the auction on 16th February at the Berkeley Hotel in London .

Classic lines from “Withnail & I” which maybe be of use when in the countryside, you will find these useful if you are the winning bidder.

-We’ve come on holiday by mistake.
-You’re the poacher?
-We’re not from London you know.
-Can we have a chicken.
-We’re friends of Montague Withnail.
-That bull wants to get down there and have sex with those cows.
-He’s in’t top field (why are farmers in the UK always in top field and in America they are always in the lower forty?)
-Hold your bag up, don’t show him any fear!
-Close the bloody gate!
-Here hare here.
-Don’t threaten me with a dead fish.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patrick McGoohan dies at 88 in Los Angeles

Born March 19th, 1928; Died January 13th, 2009

Patrick Joseph McGoohan was born in New York in 1928, but grew up in County Leitrim and Sheffield. He married the actress Joan Drummond in 1951 and they had three daughters.

He appeared in many films including: The Dam Busters (1955), Hell Drivers (1957) with Stanley Baker and Sean Connery, and played the vicar-smuggler in Disney's Dr Syn, Alias the Scarecrow (1963).

On TV, he starred in 'The Prisoner'. "I am not a Number, I am a free man!" and "What do you want ? Information" resonate as loudly today as in 1968, when the series was made.

Kathleen Byron, star of Black Narcissus, dies at 88

Kathleen Byron in Black Narcissus. Photo: Ronald Grant Archive

Kathleen Byron, the intense, flame-haired star of Michael Powell's Black Narcissus, died yesterday at the age of 88. She is believed to have been in poor health for a number of years.
Born in London in January 1921 (some sources say 1923), Byron made her film debut playing a maid in Carol Reed's 1942 drama The Young Mr Pitt. But it was with the film-making team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger that she was to make a lasting impression. Byron played an angel in 1946's A Matter of Life and Death, and starred opposite David Farrar in 1949's The Small Back Room.
She is best remembered for her performance as the unstable Sister Ruth in 1947's Black Narcissus.