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Somewhat Off-Topic: What have you been reading lately?


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My daughter just sent me some info on Facebook about an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of photographs of the Yorkshire Moors. Each photo online had a quote from "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. Most beautiful! I think there's another version of "WH" recently released. I also agree with you about books being converted to movies. It seems that many people today don't know what an imagination is, let alone taking time to ruminate.

 

Speaking of Victorian literature, I did like the series "Cranford" as well as "Lark Rise to Candleford," seen on PBS & both of which can be gotten from Netflix. The film"Larkrise..." was nothing like the book.

 

I have not read "Confederacy of Dunces" & can honestly say that the only book I didn't finish was "Moby Dick." Oh, there was another...a murder mystery I started many years ago that was so gory I gave up.

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> {quote:title=clearskies wrote:}{quote}

> Each photo online had a quote from "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte.

 

This is very off-topic but your comment reminds me of an incident related by Dumas. He wanted a picture of the Chateau d'If because he wanted to place a second story in the same area as his earlier The Count of Monte Cristo. When he acquired a print made for the tourist trade he was amused to find that the artist had labeled the wall from which Edmond Dantes had been thrown into the sea.

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Reading a book called _All About All About Eve_ by Sam Staggs. It's interesting--he chronicles the making of the film from it's beginnings as a short story in a magazine (based loosely on a true story--there actually was an Eve, though her name was Martina and "Margo" was Elisabeth Bergener) through the stage play to the film to the musical version, Applause and all the gossip and wheeling and dealing along the way. He even tracks down the real "Eve" and includes an interview with her and with Mary Orr, who wrote the original story. It's a fun read.

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I didn't know *All About Eve* was based on a short story, nor did I have any idea that Margo and Eve were modelled (sort of) after real people. I wonder, was there an actual George Sanders type?

 

clearskies wrote: "...the only book I didn't finish was "Moby Dick." Have you seen the Woody Allen film, *Zelig* ? It's a running joke in the movie that one of the Zelig character's ambitions is to read (to the end ! ) Moby Dick . I think he finally does, right at the end of the film, when he's "cured". Zelig's got something on me...I only read the bits I had to to fake it in my first year English class .

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*ALL ABOUT EVE* is based on a short story by Mary Orr entitled "The Wisdom of Eve." It can be found in a short story anthology entitled *NO BUT I SAW THE MOVIE*, edited by David Wheeler. The book is made up of obscure short stories that were made into classic films (such as *IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE*, *IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT*, and *FREAKS*.) It was published in 1989 and is probably out of print now, but well worth seeking out at a used book store.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> I didn't know *All About Eve* was based on a short story, nor did I have any idea that Margo and Eve were modelled (sort of) after real people. I wonder, was there an actual George Sanders type?

>

> clearskies wrote: "...the only book I didn't finish was "Moby Dick." Have you seen the Woody Allen film, *Zelig* ? It's a running joke in the movie that one of the Zelig character's ambitions is to read (to the end ! ) Moby Dick . I think he finally does, right at the end of the film, when he's "cured". Zelig's got something on me...I only read the bits I had to to fake it in my first year English class .

 

 

Mankowicz said that Addison DeWitt was based in part on himself and in part on theatre critic George Jean Nathan. And part of the characterization of Margo was based on Tallulah Bankhead, though neither Mankowicz nor Bette Davis ever admitted it publically. Tallulah, however, took it personally and ran with it, mining the "feud" between she and Davis for material for years.

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>Well, it's been a week, now, and I'm still plugging away with Confederacy of Dunces. Embarrassing thought this is to admit, I'm only about half-way through it. I have to remind myself to pick it up and read it. Why do I continue, when there are a million books to read? Well, I feel kind of committed to it now, and I do want to find out what happens to the dysfunctional Ignatious

 

*misswonderly*, Years ago I read *Confederacy of Dunces* for an online forum and had so much trouble just getting through it. I thought it was just dreadful. The story is blissfully out of memory but I do recall that a major problem for me was the writing itself. I couldn?t believe that editor would even accept it. I guess amateur-ish might be the word. It was one of the few books I?ve ever read that I felt I could do so much better (To date, I haven?t written any novels so there you go :D . And the fact that the book could even be chosen for that particular forum amazed me. It was peopled by some pretty potent literary types and the mere fact they even recognized it as legitimate literature was bad enough not to mention the agony of having to endure reading anything complimentary, There were detractors, however, that made me not only breathe a sigh of relief but also prevented me from going insane. I wish I could acquit myself better in talking about it, it?s cheap to come on here and trash it without making a better case why, but at least I can say that the writing itself had a lot to do with it.

 

But to be a little more positive and with the regard to the Books to Movies Department, I recall, after reading *Catch-22* years and years ago, that a movie could never be made. The time scheme is convoluted, it would take a Master thesis to catalogue all the events of the book and put them in chronological order. (Never mind for the moment that exact chronology might not be important, it still seemed to me to be an unmakable film). I think it was Nichols who directed and I liked his simple approach. He didn?t try anything fancy. He played it straight, just giving us these crazy events and characters with all the absurdities without trying to make any conventional sense out it. It might be the only movie I can think of where there may be an advantage to having read the book first. At least you have the mood down. Going in cold turkey might seem puzzlingly (Like, what? going on here!). I also thought that they could never find an actor to play Yossarian, but they found Alan Arkin and I thought he was okay.

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Alan Arkin is a national treasure, but he had a lot of misfires in the 1980s. *BIG TROUBLE* reteamed him with his *IN-LAWS* co-star Peter Falk. It's a farce directed by John Cassavettes. I'll say that again: a farce directed by John Cassavettes. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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I have been reading the Leading Men of MGM. Very interesting, the book talks about Clark Gable, Mickey Rooney, Robert Taylor, Irving Thalberg, Spencer Tracy and many others. It is a really good read so far. I am on the chapter of Frank Sinatra right now...that may take a while.

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I don't challenge that Arkin has made some bad movies. But I don't think I've ever been disappointed in his performance. It's fun seeing him later in life. Older, balder, but still wrapping himself in a character and emerging with something so real you can reach out and touch it.

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(SPOILER if you haven't seen *Little Miss Sunshine:*)

 

He was great in *Little Miss Sunshine* - in fact, he was so good, I had to double check just now to make sure he was still alive, because his character died in that film . Arkin is not only a good actor, he's a good comedian. He's hilarious in LMS.

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clearskies, Alan Arkin was great in *The Heart is a Lonely Hunter*; he 's ab actor who can convey so much through his face. And he has a very distinctive voice, too - Although, naturally, you didn't hear him speak in that film.

 

This fits with the "reading" part of this thread, because I've read Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter , many years ago. In fact, I think I was too young to appreciate it, and should maybe re-read it. Some time...

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I read quite a few film related book this year but since it is the end of the year I doubt I will be reading anymore until 2011. :)

 

1) *The Cats in Our Lives: By James & Pamela Mason* Definitely a very different type of biography with James and his wife Pamela taking turns talking about their cats. The book is a bit out of date with the advice they give (like they don't recommend fixing female cats) but I think it gave me an interesting look on James Mason that a regular biography would not. James Mason also did all the illustrations. Here is a Sample

 

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The book is OOP but I was able to read it thanks to ILL at my Public Library.

 

2) *The Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age* I talked about this one before on here and still highly recommend it. It's a collection of AFI sessions with directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, a Producer and so forth from the Classic era. It was one of the best things I read this year and I think a great start for a film book (next year I might look into individual director books)

 

 

3) *The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler* This is one of those cases where I can't tell if I like the book or movie more because I prefer things from both. The film leaves out some details I suspect because of the Production code and it is missing some of Chandler's great dialog.

 

However I actually like how Hawks/Faulkner changes Lauren Bacall's character in the film version. And the book doesn't have one of my favorite scenes (the scene when Bogie and Bacall prank call the cops). Overall I guess I would say reading the book & watching the film gives you the perfect experience. I definietely want to read more Chandler and possibly some Hammett next year.

 

 

4) *The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill* I have a real fascination with POW escape stories so I loved this book. The film version actually does a very good job of capturing what Brickhill said went on during the camp and escape. The major difference is characters/situations are combined and the Americans play a much larger part in the film that they do in reality (in truth while the Americans do help out with the Escape they never have a chance to take part in the actual escape because they are moved to a different Compound). Oh and of course McQueen's character is completely fictional. The rest of the characters do seem to be based on real people mentioned in Brickhill's book.

 

Anyways I think it is a fascinating true story of very brave men and it's great to get all the details that the movie cannot put in.

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Excellent choices, thanks for the tip on the Mason book, I'll give it a shot as well as "The Great Moviemakers...". Also, I don't think anyone has mentioned all the Agatha Christie books that have been turned into films. David Suchet seems to have a lock on the Poirot stuff & the Miss Marple books have had quite a change in actors playing the role.

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Who knew James Mason could draw? (cats, anyway- they look pretty good to me.) Too bad the book's out of print, although I'm not surprised. A very specialized market, that would be. I like the idea that James Mason and his wife put together a book about cats like that.

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Carol Burnett's third book This Time Together is filled with entertaining vignettes. Some LOL!

 

But there was one that took the cake. All about Joan Crawford and her love of Carol, I mean LOVE! The "relationship," if you want to call it that, mostly on Joan's part, began with a short fan letter to Carol. WELL Carol was of course surprised and flattered. So she wrote back.

 

This began a series of short notes which became for Carol a bit tedious because she felt she must answer them, they were phrased in such a way that to not reply would seem tacky and rude.

 

Finally after some time since Carol had written, guess what, Carol and Hubby were at the Four Seasons restaurant when they spied Joan having dinner there also. Hoping against hope she wouldn't see them, they unfortunately had to pass her table on the way out. (Joan and Carol had never met in person.)

 

Stuck now. "Hi Miss Crawford." "No, no, no, it's Joan!" And with that Joan knelt down on the floor of the restaurant in a worshipful position and wouldn't get up. Course she did...eventually.

 

Upshot: When Burnett and co. did a that Mildred Pierce send up, Joan sent her another note laced with profanity about Jack Warner and how much she loved Carol's version. This started a whole new round of correspondence...

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