La nuit americaine

During this week, we’ve heard about the deaths of Allen Toussaint and Carol Doda.  I worked through the morning and gave my lecture before walking home and eating lunch.  At the record store, I bought used Blu-ray copies of “Notorious” and “10.”  I headed back to the office and worked some more, and then I gave an exam to my evening class.  I heard the news that the A’s had hired Mark Kotsay as a coach.  It didn’t seem that long ago that he was playing centerfield in the Coliseum.  The Flashback Feature of the week was “Risky Business,” which I was not too eager to see, so I returned home and brought out the Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of “Day for Night,” the classic Truffaut film.  The movie looked better on this disc than I can ever remember.  One of the memorable scenes is the dream in which the boy Ferrand steals the Citizen Kane photos.  I wondered if the boy simply kept the photos.  All he could do was look at them.  I thought that security in Paris was lax for these childhood Truffaut figures to get away with so much.  I noticed in one shot, there was a copy of Pauline Kael’s Citizen Kane book on a shelf.  Truffaut gave good performances in this movie, “The Wild Child,” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”  Jacqueline Bisset was a pleasure to watch as Julie Baker.  Her entrance is set up by Ferrand’s discussion of her photos, noting her eyes and the sad expression on her face.  Her character is vulnerable and unsettled, as she seeks stability with the older man but makes a terrible mistake with the younger, immature man.  I’ll always remember Jacqueline Bisset for this movie, “Bullitt,” and “Two for the Road.”  I’ve never seen “The Deep.”  Some of the bits that were really fun were the filming, seeing how effects were created and how things went wrong.  I thought that Séverine could have gone through her difficult scene in fewer takes if she was right-handed, or if they’d marked the right door in some way.  Some of her dialogue is a joke about Fellini’s methods.  I looked at the woman who was supposed to be pregnant.  I couldn’t quite believe it from what her belly and face looked like.  David Markham was Dr. Nelson, Julie’s husband.  I didn’t see him as a personality that would appeal to Julie.  He just seemed old, and I found it hard to believe that this man could leave his wife of 20 years.  One of the women in the cast was Dani, and I had to question why she went with the single name in the manner of Cher or Pink.  The stunt man seemed awfully big and tall to stand in for Julie Baker.  I liked the scene with the cat, which seems to refer to “The Soft Skin.”  Dr. Nelson said that he had only one hour before he had to catch a flight, and it must have taken a long time to film all those takes.  I also thought that the final product of all this effort must have been rather mediocre, since the producer and director had to make drastic changes with the deletion of scenes.  Julie was a late arrival and an early departure.  I felt a bit sad at the sight of seeing Julie leave.  Her character seemed to be like Julie Christie.  The movie brought back good memories of the 1980s for me, when I saw many of these foreign films.  I will remember the Delerue music and the books in the package.  The disc had quite a few special features.  The trailer was unusual because it was dubbed in English.  We didn’t get to hear Truffaut’s voice in it.  I liked Truffaut’s films years ago, but I think I appreciate them more now because that personal tone of his work is seriously lacking in most movies I see today.  Truffaut certainly had a productive decade during the 1970s with films like “Day for Night” and “Small Change.”  I fell asleep and awoke to see the end of the Columbo episode “Last Salute to the Commodore.”  After that was a Night Gallery episode called “Last Rites for a Dead Druid,” starring Bill Bixby, Carol Lynley, and Donna Douglas.  Donna Douglas, of course, was in the classic Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder.”  She died on January 1 of this year.  Carol Lynley is still alive and is 73 years old.  I don’t believe in Friday the 13th superstitions.  I watched some early morning news and was skeptical about Libby Schaaf’s efforts to keep Oakland’s sports teams in town.  There has some resemblance of a budget, and it’s going to involve a ton of money.  We’re already hearing about Black Friday.  I’m not ready for it.  I have to save some money from this week’s paycheck and the one I’m going to get the day before Thanksgiving.  Is there going to be anything worth buying out there in the stores?  Some of the people who died on November 13 include Gioacchino Rossini (1868), Vittorio De Sica (1974), Karen Silkwood (1974), and Antal Doráti (1988).  Today is a birthday for Joe Mantegna (68) and Garry Marshall (81).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for November 13, Men at Work had the Number One album, “Business as Usual,” in 1982.  In 1987, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie “The Running Man” was released.  In 1991, the Martin Scorsese remake of “Cape Fear,” starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, and Jessica Lange, was released.

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