Moulin Rouge

I awoke and watched the Saturday edition of CBS This Morning. I waited for the chef segment. Marc Vidal’s signature dishes were lobster fideua, pulpo a la gallega, espinacas a la catalane, patatas bravas, salsa brava, roasted garlic allioli, torrija café, plum compote, and a blood orange sangria. TV on the Radio performed. I went out to do my laundry, and someone at the laundromat recognized me and talked with me about basketball. He didn’t mention that Klay Thompson scored 37 points in one quarter on Friday night. I looked at the American Top 40 playlist for this weekend. The Top 10 songs from January 25, 1975 were “Pick Up the Pieces,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” “Morning Side of the Mountain,” “One Man Woman/One Woman Man,” “You’re No Good,” “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” “Fire,” “Mandy,” “Laughter in the Rain,” and “Please Mr. Postman.” I hung around the office longer than I intended, preparing three homework assignments. I felt too tired to go to the record store. I watched “Moulin Rouge,” not the Nicole Kidman movie where she sings “Your Song,” but the John Huston movie with Jose Ferrer. It wasn’t as interesting as when I first saw it years ago. I thought that Huston was showing his sympathy with drunken people going through a lot of emotional pain, which we would see in “Under the Volcano.” I couldn’t like the flashback scenes showing Henri’s accident. I wonder how they did the stunt with the kid falling down the stairs. I wondered how they turned Ferrer into a small person. This was long before CGI and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Jose Ferrer was a good actor, and I liked watching him, except for a couple of speeches that sounded obviously scripted. The story is about him falling in love twice and suffering a lot, but I don’t know how that contributes to his art. Painting isn’t the greatest subject for a movie. It might be visual, but it’s still internal. Besides, I wasn’t convinced that either of these women would inspired any emotion in this man. It is amazing that Zsa Zsa Gabor was a young woman in this movie. He supposedly sings, but the dubbing is more obvious than for Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady.” You’d think she’d be embarrassed about it. I thought it was interesting to see the process of printing out those initial posters for the Moulin Rouge. I wondered whose hand it was that was doing the drawing. In one of the shots, a speck of charcoal trickles down the paper. I expected to see more of Paris. Were they filming this thing in a studio in England? I saw the Eiffel Tower off in the distance briefly in one shot. There were two montages of paintings, and I rather liked the second one with the women. I thought Vincent Van Gogh was a friend. Why didn’t we get to see him? I didn’t like the idea of Ferrer also playing the father because it reminded me of those old comedy television shows where the actor plays a twin. I couldn’t help thinking about the scene where he orders the food and leaves before it comes. What did the waiter do? He did a lot of going out to eat and going to shows and drinking cognac. When I first saw this movie years ago on television, it was a black and white television, so I didn’t realize what the movie really looked like. I liked the colorful look of those opening scenes, the liveliest in the entire movie. I remember that I urged Henri not to let the woman back into his apartment at one point. That last relationship of his lasts less than half an hour of the movie, so it didn’t feel developed to me. The final scene reminded me of a couple of other movies, “All That Jazz” and “Amarcord.” In any case, it had the feeling of Fellini. In 1952, there was no frank discussion of prostitution in movies, although alcoholism could be in there. You see a movie here that is tame in dealing with the subject matter, but it manages some powerful moments. I think John Huston will always be one of my Top 20 film directors. I admired the way he worked productively right until the end. I had a friend who worked on getting the dancers for “The Dead.” “It Happened One Night” was the featured movie on KQED. I watched part of it, and thought about how Clark Gable was in “Gone with the Wind.” He would end up in the John Huston film “The Misfits.” After John Huston died in 1987, I remember seeing a photo of the mourners in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. I wonder what his last words were. I saw Wonder Woman on Channel 20-2. They went back to the first season with their stories about the Nazis. I thought the theme music went against the 1940s setting. The Star Trek episode had the crew trying to put a pilot back where he belonged. NBC had figure skating. Saturday Night Live didn’t look too appealing. I would rather see some of the old shows. I thought that maybe it’s time for NBC to put on something different on Saturday nights. I saw more comments about Deflategate, with a reference for “My Cousin Vinny.” I didn’t get out to the Grand Lake Theater yesterday. I didn’t go to the record store. I watched Heather Holmes on the news. John Sasaki was also in the studio. In the news was a possible mileage tax. Some of the people who died on January 25 include Al Capone (1947), Irene Castle (1969), and Ava Gardner (1990). Today is a birthday for Tobe Hooper (72) and Dean Jones (84). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind segment for January 25, Charles Manson and his follower were convicted of the 1969 murders of Sharon Tate and six other people. In 1990, Ava Gardner died of pneumonia at age 67 at her home in London, at 34 Ennismore Gardens, where she had lived since 1968. In 2010, “Avatar” passed “Titanic” as the highest-grossing movie in history.

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