The true loss of a great talent, Alan Rickman.

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When I read of Alan Rickman’s passing my first feeling was shock.  No, he is too young.  He has too many parts still to play.  It’s not fair.  I always hoped I would get to see him on stage.  I would have loved to see him doing Shakespeare, from all that I know of him he would have been magnificent as King Lear.

The first time I saw him I really did not see his features under the make up or the horrid fright wig he wore in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, it was his voice that stayed with me.  It was such a unique voice and though he was a bad guy, it was a wonderful, sexy voice.  It stayed with me.

Then four years later, my Mother and I wanted to do something anti-Superbowl, and I had just become obsessed with Jane Austen.  I fell in love with her writing from the TV mini series of Pride and Prejudice so when I heard that Emma Thompson, (who I admire a lot) had written and starred in Sense and Sensibility. I thought it would be a perfect balance to my thDad and brother taking over living room with the Superbowl. All through the movie the voice of Colonel Brandon drove me mad, I knew it and I had no idea from where.  As we drove home I realized who he played and in the middle of conversation on the drive home said, Robin Hood,  The Sheriff Nottingham, that is where I know him from.  I think I shocked my Mom a bit, but I always remember a voice.  And his was special.  I tried to watch everything he was in that I could.

 

The next film I saw was Galaxy Quest, he was hilarious as the egotistical actor playing an Alien in a Sci Fi show.  Then Love Actually, again like Sense and Sensibility he played the leading man type, you could see what he looked like.  Though his character had some issues he seemed to turn it around in the end.

I came late to Harry Potter, I did not start watching it till the third movie came out.  I started to read the books that year and fell in love with them.  Alan was perfect as Professor alan rickmanSnape. I saw the first two movies on video tapes, so I didn’t get the full effect of the Professor till third movie.  He was amazing as old Snape,  you just loved to hate him.  It was nice that you saw why he did it in the end, again the bad guy was shown as a good guy and redeemed at the end.

 

 

Outside of Harry Potter the last show I saw him on was The Song Of Lunch on PBS with Emma Thompson. It was a lyrical show very much the cycle of love.

There were a lot more movies of course but those are the ones that stood out.  He was a talented man, who was very diverse and special.  He was very well-loved and he will be so very missed by all of his fans.

I raise my wand for you Professor…

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Love A Good Neil Simon Play

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Come Blow Your Horn is Neil Simon’s first play about when he finally left home and moved in with his older brother.  The play is very different from the movie.  I am not knocking the movie.  I really loved it.

I mean how can you go wrong with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bill,   Lee J. Cobb and Molly Picon.  It is a fun movie, a bit of a romp. I saw the movie before I saw the play.  My Grandma met Molly Picon, she was from the Yiddish Theater and my Grandmother and her family used to supply fabric for the costumes for the Yiddish Theater.  She had met Molly and her mother when they came in to buy material and my Grandma used to tell us great stories about it.  So i have soft spot for this wonderful and funny lady.

The movie also had Jill St James and Barbara Rush who I also admire, in fact there really isn’t anyone in the cast that I didn’t admire.  I also think that Norman Lear who wrote the screenplay is an amazing writer and producer, ( I grew up watching all his TV Shows and they were all the type of shows that pushed boundaries and taught while they made you laugh,)  but he is a different man with a different life from Neil Simon and he gave the movie his own take and it was very different then Neil Simon’s vision.

I saw the play in the 80’s and I was surprised by how different it is. It is a sweet charming and very Jewish Play.  It was what they did to his first baby that convinced Neil Simon that only one person could make his plays into screenplays from then on is Neil Simon.  So from then  on he always wrote the screenplays when his plays left the foot lights and went on to the big screens.

Come Blow Your Horn is all about growing up and finding your path to adulthood.  I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that it led one of the best playwrights of our time to grow as an artist.  Actually I kind of love the idea of that, don’t you?

 

 

No One Else Can Do Justice To The Thin Man Series

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I am just wondering if people today really understand how loved a classic movie is. There have always been remakes but of late it seems there are more remakes then original movies. If you have ever had the pure fun and joy of watching the original Thin Man series you would understand what I am talking about. I have a great deal of respect for Johnny Depp, he is a fine actor with a healthy love movie history but I just can’t see him as Nick Charles. I have enjoyed so few remakes and I now feel such a resistance I wait until they come on TV rather then spend my money ( a lot of money) at the theater for yet another remake.

I know that the series was done in black and white but that does not take away from the magic. There is something electric in the chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy. Though the films are dated in some ways to me that is part of the fun. You could not get away with it in a modern movie, there is a lot love and affection but no outward sex. Though there is a lot of referral to both sex and violence but  they are rather bloodless and like any good murder mystery from the thirties and forties that is not point of the movie. They were called whodunits for a reason.

The fun is the chemistry between Nick and Nora. The quick one liners and watching Nick systematically solve the crimes. All the while Nora tags along finding her own clues. She bravely goes where no wife has gone before(in the movies at that time). You find out how much they love each other by actions not by words. And though they are a product of the times, Nora is obviously a very smart women. One of the many reasons Nick Loves her.

It is hard to catch lightning in a bottle. Though these movies had some of the biggest stars before they were famous including Jimmy Stewart, you don’t watch these movies for the other stars. You watch it to see Nick and Nora, their son Nicky and their dog Asta. All of them take part in the mysteries. Watch the original and let me know what you think. I think you will be surprised and pleased.