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Rinaldo

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  1. I can't pass up Laura any time it's on, even though it was one of my first DVD purchases. So many parts that shouldn't go together (the unique attitude that is Clifton Webb, stone-faced Dana Andrews, deliberately campy Vincent Price, surly Judith Anderson, goddessy-beautiful Gene Tierney, the over-the-top swoony atmosphere, the preposterous way a murder investigation is conducted, and David Raksin's indelible music coating it all), but wonderfully do. Against all reason, it's a perfect piece of entertainment.
  2. I noticed that about it when I looked the movie up for some reason a month ago. Recalling some movies, I have to stop and think, "Wait, who was the wonderful character actress in that? Was it Eileen Heckart, or Jean Stapleton, or maybe Frances Sternhagen?" It's easy in this case because the answer is all of them!
  3. Plus, even those who make their own pasta don't necessarily use a machine for it. (Pasta existed for centuries before the machine came along.) It's a substantial monetary investment that not everyone will want to make, if it's an activity they don't do all that often. (On one of the old Masterclasses, Mary Berry remarked, "We all bought one, and it sits in the back of the cupboard.")
  4. At least unlike the Schichttorte, this wasn't sprung on them as a Technical -- they had a week, or many weeks if they're superbly organized and have no other calls on their time, to practice it.
  5. It seemed to me that she was trying to lessen their previous criticism -- saying that despite everything, it looked perfectly all right, just homemade. (Which admittedly isn't the highest point that they're aiming for, but far from bad.) Once again, Anglophile though I may be, I'm reminded of the gulf between US and UK word usage. A "festival" in GBBO context means not an event (usually arts-related) that you travel to, but just one of the holidays in the year's calendar. I need a babel fish in my ear. Henry tickles me to death. He just responds to things in funny ways, and he's just as ready to aim the humor at himself, or to take someone else's digs with a smile. He seems as if he'd be fun to know.
  6. In actual performance, it's a double who enters for that one scene (hooded, her back to the audience most of the time, and speaking in that croak that could be anybody), to be replaced by the actual Bernadette at the crucial moment. But for the videotaping, they cheated and used the magic of editing (stopping and resuming) to let her play the whole scene in a way that wouldn't be possible in real life.
  7. I haven't heard the podcast, but that's exactly the conclusion I came to, long ago. During judging, the tent always looks clean and pristine, and it sure doesn't look that way the moment they've finished their work. Clearly, everyone had to exit while a general cleanup took place. (And I even privately assume that "Place your creation at the end of the bench" is at least partly to make sure that the crew doesn't throw out anything they shouldn't.)
  8. Handshakes are never given during Technical challenges -- they're done blind and the judges stay on the far side of the table. And they're almost never given for Showstoppers -- I can't say absolutely never, because I have a vague memory of one or two happening over the years (maybe Rahul got one for a Showstopper last year?) Really handshakes are 95% confined to the Signature challenges, with the judges moving from station to station. I too was sure Henry was leaving. And though in a sense he might have earned that, I would be sorry to lose him, as his quietly snarky sense of humor greatly appeals to me. It's been often directed at himself, but he got in a good one at Paul this time ("the cheek!"), and his closing comments about polishing up his farewell speech and planning what to nick were treasurable. So was the sight of him on the exterior bench, snuggled up against David's shoulder.
  9. This may be true (I'm in no position to be authoritative about it), but the picture in popular fiction of the period makes it sound pretty glamorous and flapper-ish, not that different from the US of that decade (even given the difference created by Prohibition). I'm talking about books like the early novels of Christie and Sayers, Benson's Lucia series, and certainly Wodehouse himself, all of whom create a picture (when focusing on London) of the idle rich enjoying themselves in daring new dress styles, fast cars, endless parties, drinking, and drugs that matches anything in, for instance, Fitzgerald.
  10. Selasi stood out for that quality even in his own season, while others were melting down to the right and left of him. I recall many a freak-out in the past. Though I don't ever recall seeing such a pitiful showing for choux pastry on this show before.
  11. I'm a very elementary baker myself, but choux pastry is honestly one of the easiest procedures, way easier than any of the pastries for tarts etc. But it does need the experience of putting it together it a time or two, so that you know what it's supposed to look like at each stage of mixing and how to know how much egg to add and all that. There's no excuse for not preparing oneself on this technique.
  12. I just finished watching Too Many Crooks, a little British comedy from 1959, and it does tickle my funny bone, as a number of the modest British comedies of that era do -- several of them written by the same scenarist as this one, Michael Pertwee. This one is the durable "ransom of Red Chief" premise, also later used in the American Ruthless People. A hapless quartet of petty crooks plots to kidnap the daughter of a soulless businessman, but end up with his wife instead -- whom he's delighted to be free of, pooh-poohing all their ransom demands. The wife, hearing of this, becomes so furious that she takes over the gang and leads them to revenge, grabbing all her husband's illicit stashes of cash. On hand are several of the masters of this genre at the time: Terry-Thomas (as the villain/victim), George Cole, Brenda de Banzie. And Pertwee's lines and situations are often really surprising and hilarious. I especially treasure a morning in small-claims court where Terry-Thomas is called up on one charge after another, trying to ad-lib his way out of each in turn. And the moment when the wife turns from a weeping frump into a decisive fury, calling the crooks rude names and using her martial arts skills to fling them across the room.
  13. I agree with you, but (to quote GB Shaw), who are you and I against so many? 😉 But then I'm not crazy about any of the incarnations of La Cage aux folles, including the stage musical. They just don't tickle my funny bone or speak to me in any way, and I don't love the basic premise either. Chacun à son goût.
  14. Sweet Smell of Success has come up in this topic once or twice before, and it's always a pleasure to talk about. As @benteen says, a great film, and someone's always discovering it for the first time (my own first viewing wasn't all that long ago), which is cool because we can discuss it again. Being immersed in the very active nightlife of NYC in that era is fun, and the two stars were never better. We're told that location shooting was hampered by mobs of teenage Tony Curtis fans, but then they didn't show up for the finished movie (it was a financial failure at the time); it remains maybe his finest acting performance. Likewise for Burt Lancaster, so determined to turn himself from an enjoyable action star into a serious actor; this is one time he really succeeded in a big way. The dialogue just crackles with original ways of saying things. So much so that in Diner, there's a character who speaks only in lines from Sweet Smell of Success. Which is such a bizarre and specific detail to invent, it makes me think Barry Levinson must have known someone like that. (And how wonderful that the TCM site permanently houses exactly that little scene.)
  15. I just watched Hitchcock's first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much for the first time. Or rather, his first movie by that title, because they're really very different. The family is English (not American), they have a daughter (not son), and the mother is an Olympic-level skeet shooter (not retired pop singer). Plus of course it's all in B&W with rather modest production values. And nothing corresponding to "Que sera," we end with a tense shootout in a squalid London street (with a nifty but prepared twist near the end). The same Arthur Benjamin "Storm Clouds Cantata" with a noisy spot for the attempted assassination, though. Peter Lorre and his henchmen plotting in their rickety attic gave their bit a rather "Threepenny Opera" sort of vibe. I'm glad I saw it.
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