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Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Writer's Life 1/14 - Citizen Auteurs

Citizen Kane (1941), a flop at the box office, appears at the top of many lists of the greatest films of all-time. It cast its director, Orson Welles, as a genius, a height he never again approached in his films. Although I like Citizen Kane, I believe it is geared more toward students and critics than the general public. I prefer the bizarre Touch of Evil (1958). Last night, courtesy of Netflix, I viewed The Immortal Story (1968), which ran on French TV before it was released to theaters. Based on a novel by Isak Dinesen, Welles and Louise de Vilmorin adapted it to the screen. Set in Macao, Welles co-stars as a rich elderly man who wishes to make an old sailor story come true. European screen legend Jeanne Moreau is the female lead. It is an exploration of fiction vs. reality, certainly a worthy theme. Shot in lush color, running only 62 minutes, it never rises above solid. 1700+ users at IMDb have rated it, forging to a consensus of 7.1 of ten. I believe its appeal is restricted to those fascinated by Welles. I do not look at movies with the eyes of a film-maker but that of a layman. Many of the nuances the great directors use elude me as I closely follow story line. This is probably why Welles' genius escapes me. Here's a still of Moreau and Welles in a playful moment:

RIP William Peter Blatty, 89, whose novel The Exorcist took the world by storm in the early '70's. Born in NYC to Lebanese immigrants, raised in humble circumstances, he rose high above his disadvantages. His dad deserted the family when WPB was six. He and his mom resided in 28 different locations during his youth. Despite the constant upheavals, he earned a scholarship to Brooklyn Prep H.S., a prestigious Catholic institution which no longer exists. He had 11 novels, three works of non-fiction, and an autobiography published. He also wrote 12 screenplays, and directed two adaptations of his work, the under-rated The Ninth Configuration (1980) and The Exorcist III (1990). He won an Oscar for the adaption of The Exorcist (1973), and three Golden Globes. He also received the Horror Writers Lifetime Achievement Award. Well done, sir. (Facts from Wiki)

The Cleveland Indians made it to the World Series largely on the strength of their young stud pitchers. Their top five starters are set to make a combined $23.65 million in 2017. That seems like a lot of money, but seven veteran MLB aces will each make more than that next season. The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Red Sox's David Price will earn more than $30 million. (From Yahoo Sports, in my own words.)

30 degrees, no sunshine, no book shop.
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