Clash by Night

When I awoke yesterday morning, I heard Alison Bailes talking on the CBS This Morning show about movies that were adaptations of television shows.  I didn’t think that any of the Batman movies should have counted.  They brought in baby animals, like bears and foxes.  They didn’t seem to scare Rebecca Jarvis.  She did admit that she still had to complete her income tax return this weekend, even though she is a business and economics correspondent for CBS News.  Elizabeth Karmel brought her recipes for a North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwich, North Carolina Cole Slaw, Pastis Shrimp, Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Saffron Aioli, and Double Cherry Pie with Streusel Topping.  During the show, I heard Jeff Glor refer to “good stuff” four or five times.  I went out to do my laundry, but the Chinese woman with the key to the door was 15 minutes late, so I had to stand out in the cold morning for a while.  I listened to the Byrds’ “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” album as I watched as clothes tumble around in the dryer.  I used the Internet to look up the New York Times Book Review and the American Top 40 for this week in 1971.  The Top 10 songs for April 10, 1971 were “One Toke Over the Line,” “Proud Mary, “Another Day,” “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “For All We Know,” “She’s a Lady,” “Joy to the World,” “What’s Going On,” and “Just My Imagination.”  I listened to albums like “The Stooges,” Sly and the Family Stone’s “Fresh,” and “Buffalo Springfield Again.”  When I returned home, I watched a DVD called “Clash by Night.”  The director was Fritz Lang, and the stars were Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, Robert Ryan, and Marilyn Monroe.  It was a love triangle story set in Monterey, California, so I couldn’t help thinking about John Steinbeck as I was watching.  The first five minutes of the film has some very good material, showing what the work of fishing and working in the cannery is like in this town.  Stanwyck is Mae Doyle, a woman who’s been to different parts of the country and through the mill, and has returned to her hometown somewhat defeated.  Paul Douglas is Jerry D’Amato, the unsophisticated man who marries her.  Douglas shows that he’s not the greatest screen actor of all time.  Robert Ryan is the wild man who pursues Mae, even though she’s married.  I seem to remember Ryan as a general in a World War II movie, but I couldn’t remember what it was.  He’s kind of reminiscent of Sterling Hayden.  Marilyn Monroe has a strong presence on the screen, and it’s interesting that her character is unglamorous, a girl who works in the cannery cleaning fish.  Most of these characters look as if they have stepped out of a film noir, and the dialogue and situation have the feel of a crime story, but there’s no actual crime committed.  I thought the movie’s black and white photography generally looked very good, except for some moments when the rear projection was noticeable.  One thing that was a bit distracting was that Barbara Stanwyck was constantly smoking cigarettes in this movie.  It seemed like she set some kind of a record.  It was really ridiculous.  I thought she was going to drop dead of cancer before the movie was over.  I can’t see how a woman can be satisfied with a man who doesn’t have a clue as to what kind of person she is.  Jerry is a decent man who works hard and is loyal, but he doesn’t appreciate things.  Mae is one of those women who are self-centered and easily bored.  I can’t see her wanting to stay in Monterey for very long.  I think the major flaw in the story is that we don’t believe this marriage is ever going to look out.  A woman who forces herself to marry a man she thinks is good is not doing the right thing.  I don’t think that a story that is about so much inner anguish can be a completely successful movie.  I preferred something like “The Big Heat” coming from Fritz Lang.  I liked the moments when the movie went out into the open spaces and showed us a little bit of Monterey.  There was a little bit too much of the feeling of a play, with a touch of “A Streetcar Named Desire” to all of this.  I thought the cast was good, except for Paul Douglas.  The reason I watched this movie was because Marilyn Monroe was in the credits, but I didn’t see as much of her as I hoped I would.  I thought she had a better role in “The Asphalt Jungle.”  Peter Bogdanovich provided some interesting commentary on one of the audio tracks for the disc.  He said that the Golden Age of Movies lasted from 1912 to 1962.  He didn’t elaborate on what signaled the end of this golden age.  He interviewed Fritz Lang, so he would know more about his work than many other film scholars.  I watched “Friday’s Child,” an episode of the original Star Trek series, at nine o’clock, and Julie Newmar was in it.  It seemed that she was everywhere during the 1960s.  The communicators in the original series looked really cheap, and the fake rocks looked really fake.  Scotty got fooled by a false distress signal.  Julie was pregnant.  Tige Andrews of The Mod Squad was a Klingon.  He showed how evil he was at the end.  They did a lot with low budgets with this show, although they had too many flashing lights that didn’t mean anything on the bridge of the Enterprise.  I also couldn’t see how they could power a ship on dilithium crystals.  You certainly can’t reach Warp Factor 5 using those rocks.  I didn’t want to watch Svengoolie.  The movie on KQED was “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” which I saw not too long ago.  Four of the notable deaths that occurred on April 15 were Abraham Lincoln (1865), John-Paul Sartre (1980), Greta Garbo (1990), and Joey Ramone (2001).  I got a message from an Asian student group that said this:    どうもありがとうございました!

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