Scafell and Broad Stand across from Mickledore
The great poet, literary critic, philosopher and visionary Romantic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was every bit of a daredevil. His quest to seek out wild places and go roaming by himself was done in a spirit of revolutionary fervour. Fell…
Chinese not only leave trash around but they do it in the most extraordinary of places. These days, of course, with the world getting more consumer or commodity-based - developed and developing countries - are particularly suffering. It’s not only a Chinese problem. When I lived in Japan, trash…
I’ve just finished making up the exam paper B, the re-sit freshman listening final, with some relief. I hate doing brain-numbing tedious tasks. This is a case in question. So, I thought some tonic would be in order, and nothing’s better than another listen to the soundtrack to the 1976 musical classic The Slipper And The Rose, a version of Cinderella, starring Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven. Besides having some nice songs and a memorable cast of supporting stars, nothing, in my opinion, beats the film’s the rich, lavish soundtrack which at times feels oily, sentimental and a tad sad.
I thought I’d fish around the Youtube archives and share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
In light of this week’s events, drunk, or drinking and driving, must be one of the most selfish, irresponsible and downright reckless things imaginable. Needless to say, there’s absolutely no excuse for it. I was affected with moments of sadness after hearing about the senseless deaths of two…
Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969) Starring Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon is one of my very favourite films, not because of the thriller element but purely because these two legendary actresses gave great and entertaining performances as they interacted with each other.
I first saw the movie on my grandmother’s TV when I was a boy of about nine or ten years, not long after it first came out. Since then, I got to understand the film’s good acting. Some of the scenes have stuck as some sort of obsession because they are rather macabre, funny, or however else you’d like to interpret them. I decided, however mistaken it might be, to show one of the video clips of the film to a class of my students to 1, kill some class time and 2, thinking it might impress them.
The clip was of Page, alias Mrs Marrable, being particularly bitchy and condescending - not to mention sinister - to the latest in her line of unfortunate housekeepers, the modest Miss Tinsley, because, having embezzled all her savings, it is now time to bump her off and bury the housekeeper beneath her newest in line of mysterious pine trees growing quite nicely in her garden.
Marrable becomes a homicidal maniac after the death of her husband left her financially insolvent. Somewhat despairing, not knowing what to do, she re-locates to Arizona to be near a nephew and hire housekeepers that have savings which she might embezzle. She deceives the women into thinking that if their money is handled by her stockbroker it will encrease - even double. However, it’s just a ploy to steal the money. Once the women fall for the trick, she picks the right time - and a pine tree - and then kill them.
Because the movie was made in a different timeframe from that of the student’s lives, it was perhaps predictable that the showing, besides killing (excuse the pun) time, went down like a lead balloon.
“What am I doing showing this?” I anguished, as the performing failed to do anything, not even imdb.com’s accurate descriptive analysis of Geraldine Page’s performance, failed to do anything for the students:
Geraldine Page stars in this film as Aunt Claire, and if you had any doubts about her talent as an actress prior to seeing this film, no doubts should have remained afterward. Page is simply stunning. She has an aura and charm about her. She has a wonderfully sadistic and maniacal laugh. She has an ability to take dialogue which would not work for any one else and make it sound meaningful. Her portrayal of this wicked, cruel, greedy woman is one of the best I have seen for roles of this ilk.
Obviously, you can only do so much, and only give the students material they can relate to visually and comprehendingly.
On the positive side, I did get an idea to use the substance of one of the lines from the movie in a bit of dictation for the freshman listening classes today. The line was as follows:
“When referring to a cordial, you should use the French pronunciation liqueur, not liquor.”
I then showed the students the briefest of exerpts from the film which has the poor unfortunate Miss Tinsley pouring and tentatively handing Mrs Marrable a small glass of the liqueur.
“You’ve never tasted it, have you?” (Marrable)
“I’m not one for liquor” (Tinsley)
Mrs Marrable immediately shows her condescending disgust at this ignorance.
“When referring to a cordial, you use the French pronunciation, Liqueeeuuur, Miss Tinsley.” (Marrable)
It’s scenes like this that make the film beautifully macabre and give any movie connoiseur quality viewing. More than the violent, Page just dominates them.
There’s an excellent scene where she lures a stray dog with a piece of meat and kindly expressions into a shed. It’s been been acting suspiciously by sniffing and barking around the pine trees. However, the dog starts to act viciously once Mrs Marrable tries to attack it with a piece of wood. Giving up trying to kill the dog, in the next scene she gets irritated and impatient with her new housekeeper played by Ruth Gordon who is Aunt Alice in the film.
“Mrs Dimmick, are you aware that the cocktail hour has come and gone?”
“Oh, heavens! I have your Margarita right here,” she hurries to open the fridge. ”I’m only running a few minutes late.”
“Punctuality is essential to a gracious way of life which I do not intend to give up on account of you.”
Mrs Dimmick flares up at this punchy criticism.
“I’ve been trying to make a lovely meal. And that can’t be done with all the complaints….”