> Chapter1-Take1: November 2018

RIP William Goldman: WRITER

There are all kinds of writers. Novelists. Screenwriters. Memoirists. Playwrights. Children's Book Authors. Short Story Writers. William Goldman was all of the above. Goldman died November 15th, 2018 in Manhattan from pneumonia, a complication of colon cancer. He was 87 years old. 

"Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."

~William Goldman

He's the author of 16 novels and 34 screenplays counting scripts for Marathon Man, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Misery,  Harper and All the Presidents Men among them. 

And the lovely Princess Bride, based on his own novel. 

With thanks and remembrance for a massive contribution to the world of film and literature. And for all of us wannabe writers out there, it's important to note he wrote eighteen screenplays that were never produced. 

As You Wish!

Chapter1-Take1: Bonjour Tristesse starring Deborah Kerr, Jean Sebe...

Chapter1-Take1: Bonjour Tristesse starring Deborah Kerr, Jean Sebe...: Jean Seberg, born on November 13, 1938 Previously I shared a few photos of Deborah Kerr from some of her classic films: From Here ...

Bonjour Tristesse starring Deborah Kerr, Jean Seberg & David Niven: Hello Sadness, my old friend #book2movies

Jean Seberg, born on November 13, 1938

Previously I shared a few photos of Deborah Kerr from some of her classic films: From Here to Eternity, The King and I and my favorite An Affair to Remember. The star would have been 96 had she not died in 2007, at that cliche ripe old age of 86. Not a bad run. 

Not as well known perhaps, the role Kerr played in Bonjour Tristesse the Otto Preminger adaptation of the French author, François Sagan’s first book about a wild, young woman living with her playboy father, struggling to find herself. As was sometimes the fashion at the time, the French father Raymond is played by the very British David Niven, while the 17 year old American actress Jean Seberg—who loved France so much, she would come to spend half her life in France—played the daughter Cecile. The eternally classy Kerr plays an English clothing designer and friend of Raymond’s deceased wife. She sees herself as a sort of mother figure to Cecile and as a potential mate to Raymond.

I loved the movie, in part because of the glimpses we’re given of France, in part because of the yearning sadness of Cecile, the disappointment of Anne and the ultimate tragedy of the story which is one that stays with you. 

The book was such a success that it was adapted for the screen by the great Otto Preminger. Fifties leading man David Niven stars as Cecile's father, a handsome wealthy bachelor playboy who treats her more like a pal than a daughter. Jean Seberg was young Cecile, the teenage girl who idolizes her dad and loves sharing his rather dissolute lifestyle, traipsing along on a series of dates to Parisian nightclubs.  Classy Deborah Kerr plays Anne, an old family friend who comes to visit at the same time papa has a woman staying at their Mediterranean beach cottage. She stirs up the pot with her more conventional outlook and expectations.

It’s all very glamorous, gorgeous but ultimately tragic. I loved the black and white shots of Paris while the full on color shots of the south of France were blindingly beautiful.

Update, 11/13/2018 I recently learned that Jean Seberg, born on this day, died in 1979 in what the French police ruled a probable suicide. Her then-husband Romain Gary blamed her deteriorating mental health on being the target of an FBI campaign against her for her support of the Black Panthers. Against All Enemies, due out in 2019 is based on the true story with Kristen Stewart playing the iconic Jean Seberg.

Bonjour Dreaming of France friends ... Let’s watch this black and white look at Paris from Bonjour Tristesse circa 1958.

Available to stream on Amazon, YouTube, Vudu and GooglePlay.

Connect with other lovers of all things french at An Accidental Blog where Paulita Kincer is always Dreaming of France.

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz will be Nicole Kidman's Undoing

Nicole Kidman to star in the adaptation of 

You Should Have Known

I’ve said it here before I think Nicole Kidman is fast becoming the new Meryl Streep. Everything she does has us watching, mesmerized. Just announced, Kidman is teaming with Big Little Lies adaptation writer, David Kelly and director Suzanne Bier (The Night Manager) to bring Jean Hanff Korelitz' You Should Have Known to HBO as The Undoing in a six-episode limited series format. 

About the book

Kidman will play Grace Reinhart Sachs in The Undoing

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

While the book hit the shelves back in 2014 I haven’t read it. But I'll be putting it on my TBR pile. How about you? 

Happy Birthday Vivien Leigh: Watching Gone with the Wind

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939)

Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind

The screen adaptation of Gone with the Wind,  Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and one of the top 100 books on PBS Great American Reads, won eight Oscars including the Best Actress trophy for Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in 1940. Today marks the 105th anniversary of the actresses' birth, she was born on November 5th, 1913 in Darjeeling, India, what was then British India. She died in London in 1967. The British actress also won Best Actress for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Two of America's most iconic women, played by a Brit. Because acting! Really, it's a thing. 

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind, Based on the classic novel by Margaret Mitchell

Both the novel Gone with the Wind and the film also starring Clark Gable as Rhett (Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn) Butler remain classics. 

Remember this amazing scene when Scarlett meets Rhett? Vivien Leigh was just twenty-three at the time, while Gable was a dozen years her senior.

You can stream Gone with the Wind for three to four bucks on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, and youtube.

Image result for vivien leigh, Gone with the wind, I'll think about that tomorrow, gif

Image result for vivien leigh, Gone with the wind, I'll think about that tomorrow, gif

Nicole Kidman Talks About Playing Real Life Mother in Boy Erased #book2movie

Boy Erased based on the memoir about a boy and his family going through gay conversion therapy—and coming out the other side—opened this weekend. I knew about gay conversion therapy before learning about the project BUT like Nicole Kidman, I had no idea it was still happening. I thought the whole pray away the gay notion was outlawed because it's such a horrendous, dehumanizing practice. BUT I was wrong. In fact, gay conversion therapy is still legal in 35 states! Author Garrard Conley's mother is part of the movement to banish gay conversion therapy in all 50 states.
Despite the cruelty of the therapy, our vice president Mike Pence very much believes in the practice. Vote Blue! 

Watch the interview where Kidman and Conley's real-life mum talk about the project. 

Boy Erased, directed by Joel Edgerton stars Lucas Hedges as Garrard with Nicole Kidman as his mother and Russell Crowe as his dad. Boy Erased is in theaters now.

Thinking about East of Eden #SaturdayMatinee #book2movies

Have you seen Marjorie Prime? Lois Smith—who celebrates her 88th birthday today, November 3, 2018— plays an elderly woman who communicates with her deceased husband via a hologram played by Jon Hamm. It’s an intriguing idea allowing the filmmakers to look at concepts of aging and memory, perception vs reality, and of course technology. I loved Her so I think I’d like to see this as well. Smith is 86 and has been working in Hollywood since the early 1950’s and has 129 credits to her name. Can you imagine? Almost seventy years as an actress. 

image credit: rebloggy

Her very first movie role was in East of Eden with the legendary James Dean in 1954. Dean died of course, forever young at 24, in a car crash on a quiet California highway in 1955. Formerly Highway 466 near Cholame, about a three hour drive north of here.

Smith and Dean’s 1954 screen test for East of Eden is sparking interest on YouTube today. No need to search, here it is.

And now in six 10 minute segments, Mark Rydell’s 2005 TV documentary James Dean: Sense Memories about the last year of Dean’s life. The documentary was posted on YouTube by F. Scott Fitzhemingway and is today’s Saturday Matinee.

We’ve watched East of Eden before of course, and will watch it again and again. Stream it anytime on GooglePlay, Amazon, iTunes and Vudu. Check Netflix streaming as their catalogue changes but it’s available on Netflix DVD.

My Brilliant Friend: My take on the book by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend. Elena Ferrante's brilliant novel of friendship.

Ferrante shares her deeply personal view of close friendship between females at that especially vulnerable period of time—as the girls approach puberty and reach the ripe old age of sixteen. So much happens during that tumultuous time, whether you live in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley or, as these girls do, the impoverished streets of Naples, 1958.

Told from Elena Grecco's viewpoint—Lenú (Elena's alter ego)— yearns to be Raffaella Cerullo—Lila—her seemingly always smarter, always braver, more adventurous friend who pushes Lenú to move beyond the bounds of her own limitations. Lila, the leader. Lila, the daughter of a shoemaker, the one who wins all the school competitions, Lila the one all the boys fall in love with. But Lila too, we see has her own measure of jealousy and while Lenú is like an open book, Lila is manipulative, a spy, digging around—as Lenú sees it—to see what's coming next, in order to best her friend at it. 

I decided I had to model myself on that girl, never let her out of my sight, even if she got annoyed and chased me away.

I suppose that was my way of reacting to envy, and hatred and of suffocating them. Or maybe I disguised in that manner the sense of subordination, the fascination I felt. Certainly I trained myself to accept Lila's superiority in everything, and even her oppression.

Set in Naples of the late 1950's, the first of four called The Neapolitan novels, the book is an extraordinarily honest look at the complex relationship we have with each other. We think of boys as being competitive, trying to top each other with their lists and their games and their horseplay. But it's girls, desperate to define ourselves, to determine where we stand, that are truly competitive. Are we the leader or the disciple? We fight with claws—sometimes in puberty, we descend into a real catfight, sometimes it's just catty behavior to each other. Sometimes it boils down to the world being a man's world with very little room for women. And only the 'best' women gain entry. We have to be best at classroom competitions or best at being beautiful. Later, we can win entry by being best at cooking, best at keeping house. Being best is difficult, being oneself, harder still. 

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book is that it takes us to another time and place, the impoverished neighborhoods of Naples, Italy in the late 1950's. While I've been to Italy twice, I've skirted Naples twice due to a perceived crime problem. I'm not sure if that is in reality the case—although a quick check on google talks about the city being run by the local Mafia called the Camorra and that there are a wealth of pickpockets with the Piazza del Gesu being very dangerous at night. 

So while I've visited Sorrento, Capri and Vesuvius, I may never visit Naples in real life, I can't wait to see Lenú and Lila's Naples on the upcoming HBO series. According to press reports, if this initial adaptation, presented in Italian with subtitles, does well, the remaining three adaptations are ready to air here in the US as well. 

I can't wait. Can you? My Brilliant Friend debuts the first of the eight-episode series on Sunday, November 18th.

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